Concerto for Piano and Small Orchestra
 

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i. soft night (approx. 13′)

ii. alap (approx. 10′)

Concerto for Piano and Small Orchestra is, like much of my work over the last year or so, an attempt to get as close as possible to my musical materials – to feel out a natural contour, an abstract poetry… It is the continuation of a striving for a particular clarity of experience.

The first movement, ‘Soft Night’, is haunted by my memories of the city of Paris at dusk. The roots of the music lie in my chamber opera, Recueillement (‘Meditation’), named after the poem by 19th-century Parisian poet Charles Baudelaire. (The title of this movement also comes from this poem.) A certain moment of eccentric, beautiful stasis in one of Haydn’s ‘Paris’ symphonies provided an important kernel of inspiration too.

The second movement, ‘Alap’, scored for piano and strings only, presents an alternative expression for some of the sentiments of the first movement. A late Mozart piano concerto was ringing in my ears as I wrote this, as well as the slowly unfolding alap sections of North Indian ragas. As much a beginning as an ending, this music is about a resolute, child-like concentration.

Concerto for Piano and Small Orchestra was commissioned by the Irish Chamber Orchestra for the ICO and pianist Michael McHale, with partial funding from the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon.

Each movement may be performed as a stand-alone piece under its individual title. If performed as a stand-alone piece, the second movement may be performed with a larger string section.

Subtitle:
Instrumentation: solo piano and small orchestra (1.2.0.2 / 2.0.0.0 / strings – 5 . 5 . 4 . 3 . 1)
Duration: circa 23′
Date of composition: 2013
Commissioned by the Irish Chamber Orchestra for the ICO and pianist Michael McHale, with partial funding from the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon.
First Performance: Michael McHale, solo piano, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Gábor Tákacs-Nagy, conductor / RDS, Dublin, 6 March 2014.
Recording: http://vimeo.com/93516742
Score: Please email orders@ergodos.ie to obtain the latest score.