A new concerto by Carl Vine for piano four hands received its first performance on 18 August at the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago. Zofomorphosis was performed by the ZOFO Piano Duet, with the Grant Park Orchestra conducted by Carlos Kalmar. The 23-minute piece is Vine’s latest collaboration with the ZOFO piano duet, who commissioned his 2017 piece The Arrival of Implacable Gifts; they also performed Vine’s 2009 Sonata for Piano Four Hands on 19 June at the festival.

Vine writes of the piece,

The ZOFO piano duet asked me to compose this work after I had the good fortune to be involved with several of their performance projects. The duet’s name is a blended acronym standing for 20 (“ZO”) Finger Orchestra (“FO”), as they envisage creating a shifting world of symphonic colour by repeatedly prodding a large wooden box.

Zofomorphosis tests this thesis by planting them in the middle of a real orchestra and seeing how many original sonorities emerge. The music employs related cells of melodic, harmonic and rhythmic motifs that undergo continual metamorphosis through the work.

It comprises three contrasting movements, played without a break. The first is resiliently buoyant, with a dreamy central episode heralding a couplet of short cadenzas. It falls away suddenly to a pensive slow movement enveloping a short interruption of surprising energy. The last movement is an increasingly persistent tarantella, the finale of which is preceded by a substantial unaccompanied cadenza for the soloists.

Vine is renowned for his piano works. His complete piano sonatas were released in May on Dynamic, played by Xiaoya Liu. This summer also saw the world premiere of Vine’s clarinet quintet Concord from the Sydney Omega Ensemble on 2 July in Newcastle, NSW.