for Piano and Orchestra

  • Genre
    Solo Instrument with Orchestra
  • Commissioned by/written for
    David Brunell
  • Year completed
  • Year revised
  • Timing
  • Catalog number
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  • copies sold
  • 1
    known performances
  • General notes
    Winner of the Indiana University Dean's Prize in 1982.
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As a doctoral composition major at Indiana University, I was required to write a major orchestral work that would be performed as part of my graduation requirements. I chose the genre of the piano concerto, in part because I wanted to write a work to showcase the artistry of David Brunell. Given that the piece was guaranteed a performance (something that a budding composer seldom has any assurance of), I pulled out all the stops, including the use of a large orchestra (triple winds, six horns, a large percussion battery and even an ondes Martenot, performed at the premiere on a synthesizer). As an idealistic student, I certainly wasn’t very practical in those days. The Concerto also employs the Germ Cell theory of, Willem Pijper, the cell in this work being formed from the interval of the perfect fifth along with the perfect fourth that is created by shrinking it by a semi-tone in both directions (C to G becoming C# to F#). These four pitches and transpositions of them are used in all sorts of melodic and harmonic ways throughout the work. The piece is cast in 12 fairly brief movements, mostly played without pause. Despite the large orchestra, most of the movements engage the piano in conversation with only subsets of the orchestra, and movement VIII even serves as a cadenza. The full orchestra appears only in movements I, VII, and XII. David Brunell played the work from memory, and gave a brilliant launching of it in thepremiere. This Concerto was awarded the Dean’s Prize at Indiana University in 1982.

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