• Anthony Payne
  • Concerto for Orchestra (1974)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)
  • 22222200timp(perc)str(6.6.4.4.2)
  • 21 min

Programme Note

When Richard Bradshaw asked me at the beginning of the year to write a piece for the New London Ensemble, I decided to develop an idea for a concerto which had occurred to me in a dream a year or so previously. In the dream, rather annoyingly, it had been someone else's concerto, but as the dream was mine I quickly decided that the concerto was really mine too. The music dreamed actually appears in Ritornelli 2 and 4, during the first half of the work, a mosaic of repeated chords and melodic figures.

Structurally, the concerto is in one continuous movement which falls into two halves. The first is an Allegro consisting of five ritornelli and five solo sections (for oboe, clarinet, bassoon, flute, and finally the full quartet), which are clearly marked off from each other. The second half incorporates a slow movement, with solos for horn and trumpet and intervening ritornelli which now begin to merge in character with the solos, and a Finale that brings back ideas from the work's opening, while also carrying further the merging of tutti and solo identities.

As an example of one other of the many large-scale proresses on which the concerto's structure is founded, it is perhaps worth mentioning that at the start, the harmony uses only major thirds, adding extra intervals at each ritornello until total chromaticism is reached halfway through the work. The melodic writing during this process is totally chromatic. During the slow movement and finale these roles are reversed. The melodies begin simply, with only major thirds and tones in the horn solo, and accumulate
intervals during the ensuing sections, while the harmonies use all intervals throughout.

CONCERTO FOR ORCHESTRA was commissioned by the New london Ensemble with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain. The New London Ensemble conducted by Richard Bradshaw gave the first performance on 8 January 1975 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Anthony Payne