Concerto for Piano

(2010)

by David Matthews

Description
piano and strings
Duration
21
Genres
Solo Instrument with Ensemble
Commission
Commissioned by Dartington International Summer School for Helen Reid in 2010
First Performance
11.8.10, Dartington International Summer School: Helen Reid/Trinity College of Music String Ensemble/Nic Pendlebury
Availability

Score and parts for hire

Programme Notes

 

1. Con moto moderato

2. Tango: Tempo di tango energico

3. Elegy: Largo e mesto

4. Allegro con spirito

 

I have always been rather daunted by the idea of writing a piano concerto, but when Gavin Henderson suggested a relatively modest concerto for piano and strings for Helen Reid to play at the Dartington International Summer School in 2009, I found the idea both possible and attractive. In my piece I have avoided the rhetoric and grand scale of the nineteenth-century concerto; my piano-writing is more Mozartian in conception. There are, moreover, no big cadenzas.

The first movement is the largest of the four: it is loosely in sonata form, with contrasting first and second subjects, which at their recapitulation are heard in combination. The second movement is a tango, one of a number I have written in the past 25 years. The tango seems to me to be an ideal substitute for the Classical minuet: a contemporary dance-form with infectious rhythms, capable of much subtle variation. The third movement, a slow blues called 'Elegy', was written in memory of Sue Skempton, who died in October 2008 – she was the wife of my composer friend Howard Skempton. The finale, by contrast, is deliberately light-hearted, and its second theme is a deliberate attempt at composing a 'big tune' (though it isn’t big in scale) of a kind thought essential in some of the most popular concertos of the past, not without good reason.

DM

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