Piano Concerti -- out of style?

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pizza
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Piano Concerti -- out of style?

Post by pizza » Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:16 pm

Do any composers of note write them anymore? Can anyone offer a few examples?

Barry
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Post by Barry » Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:26 pm

I'm pretty sure Emmanuel Ax and The Philadelphia Orchestra premiered one by Penderecki a few years ago. I think I liked it too :) . My memory ain't what it used to be.

EDIT: Just did a search. I was right: http://www.askonasholt.co.uk/green/gree ... enDocument
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Bob
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Post by Bob » Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:46 pm

Barry Z wrote:I'm pretty sure Emmanuel Ax and The Philadelphia Orchestra premiered one by Penderecki a few years ago. I think I liked it too :) . My memory ain't what it used to be.

EDIT: Just did a search. I was right: http://www.askonasholt.co.uk/green/gree ... enDocument
Hi Barry

You are (obviously) correct. I was there for the world premiere noted in your reference. Like you, I seem to recall that it was ok, often dissonant (understandably) but sounded more to me like a tone poem.

In any case, the piece that I DO remember well was a terrific Brahms 3 by Sawallisch and Philadelphia. A most enjoyable evening.

Bob

Barry
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Post by Barry » Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:54 pm

Bob,
Almost all of the concerts I saw Sawallisch conduct during that period were extremely enjoyable. I suspect we've seen the last of him in Philly due to his declining health. I'll miss him for sure.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Bob
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Post by Bob » Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:13 pm

Barry Z wrote:Bob,
Almost all of the concerts I saw Sawallisch conduct during that period were extremely enjoyable. I suspect we've seen the last of him in Philly due to his declining health. I'll miss him for sure.
Barry

Your zeal for Sawallisch and Philadelphia matches mine as well as other's, I'm sure. A terrific collaboration. I'm sure you saw more of him than I did, but what I did get to see at Carnegie I cherish, as I do the recordings I have. However, being there in person was always a thrill. It is indeed sad that his decline has been so persistent. One can only hope...

Bob

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Post by Werner » Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:14 pm

I seem to remember Leif Ove Andsnes playing a concerto by Lutoslawski with the Philharmonic a season or two ago. I thought it was quite interesting - worth hearing again.
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Post by BWV 1080 » Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:08 pm

Within the last 25 years or so Ligeti, Lutoslawski and Wuorinen have all written fantastic piano concertos. Many of Messiaen's works like Des Canyons aux Etoiles might as well be piano concertos

Gary
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Post by Gary » Thu Mar 09, 2006 12:32 am

How about a triple concerto (that includes the piano) instead?

From http://www.denison.edu/publicaffairs/pr ... roica.html
The Grammy-nominated Eroica Trio has established a unique identity by creating innovative programs that span 300 years of music. Highlights of their 2001-02 season included the world premiere of Kevin Kaska's Triple Concerto, written expressly for the Trio and performed with the St. Louis Symphony and conductor Hans Vonk.
I've heard parts of it on PBS and thought it was pretty good. Here's a link to the composer's Web site. http://www.kevinkaska.com/
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val
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Post by val » Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:50 am

Lutoslawski composed a beautiful piano Concerto.

And there is also a remarkable piano Concerto composed in 1978 by Philippe Boesmans (recorded by Marcelle Mercenier with the Liège Ph. Orchestra).

PJME
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Are you serious?

Post by PJME » Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:38 am

Pizza, I suppose your question is ...,well, ironical!
As in several previous posts, I recommend that you start browsing the musical Internet again....from North to South ,for a change?
Anyway : 20th century: in every European country dozens of pianoconcerti were written and stay unperformed - from Finland (Uuno Klami 's firts concerto is a gem in good humoured 'Naughty' 20-ies style) to Greece and Turkey . I admit, Greek music is difficult to find , but several interesting works by Turkish composers were recorded on Hungaroton (ca 1980- 1990) and CPO (as recent as this year). Ahmed Adnan Saygun (1907-1991),Ulvi Cemal Erkin (1906-1972),Kamran Ince (1960), Aydin Esen(1962) and Fazil Say (1970) ....
I have Erkin's Symphonia concertante for piano & orchestra (1966) on CD ,and it is a strong, quasi expressionistic work.
Fazil Say is not only a very talented pianist, but also a prolific composer.
He gave the world premiere of his Piano Concerto no. 3 (commissioned by Radio France and Kurt Masur) in Paris with the Orchestre National de France under Eliahu Inbal in January 2002, to great public and critical acclaim.
Belgian composer Piet Swerts gave the American premiere of his 5th (!) concerto ("Wings", for piano and large band) in Salem, Oregon (december 2005).
I'll make a list with recent pianoconcerti asap :Lachenmann, De Raaff, Jeths, Rautavaara, Teroyuki Noda, Wolgang Rihm, H.W.Henze, E.H.Meyer .....

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Post by pizza » Thu Mar 09, 2006 6:44 am

PJME: Aside from Rautavaara, Lachenmann, Rihm and Henze (not exactly repertory staples themselves) many of the people you've named are fairly obscure. How many piano concerti by any of the other composers you've named have you heard in concert? And how many are in the mainstream repertoire?

I suppose Naxos will eventually record all of them if enough time passes, but that's not what I meant by composers of note.

Ricordanza
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Post by Ricordanza » Thu Mar 09, 2006 6:54 am

I believe that Lowell Lieberman has composed a piano concerto. Has anyone heard it?

pizza
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Post by pizza » Thu Mar 09, 2006 9:03 am

Milton Babbitt and Vincent Persichetti also wrote one each but aside from a couple of New World Records releases they're never played in concert. That's too bad because Babbitt's piano music is generally quite interesting.

PJME
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an endless list!

Post by PJME » Thu Mar 09, 2006 9:07 am

I don't think that the pianoconcerto went out of fashion. Now that young composers dare to write (almost) tonal music again, this musical form definitely inspires them.
In the last century however, even avant garde artists wrote works for piano and orchestra / ensemble, tape,tape + orchestra etc., but very often the title "concerto" disappears:
Luciano Berio : Points on a curve to find (1973)
Echoing curves (1988)
A concerto for two pianos & orch . (once played and recorded by the Labèque sisters)
Luigi Nono : sofferte onde serene (1976) - piano & tape
Magnus lindberg: pianoconcerto -1994
Einojuhani Rautavaara : 3 concerti
Dutch composer Ton De Leeuw (quite famous in europe...): Danses sacrées for piano & orch - 1990
Thomas Adès : Concerto conciso (? date)
H.W Henze: 2 concerti, 2 concertino's, Tristan for piano, tape & orch.
John Cage : pianoconcerto ( or concerto for any instrument...)
Witold Lutoslawski : concerto
Ligeti: concerto
Richard Danielpour, George Perle, Lukas Foss, Morton Feldman (piano and orchestra)..all wrote at least one work for piano & orch.
Helmut Lachenmann: Ausklang for piano & orch (1988)
Dutch pianist/composer Kees Van Baaren, Hilding Rosenberg, Herman D.Koppel, Serge Nigg (a Messiaen contemporary - 2 concerti and a concertante work on William Blake), Marc André Dalbavie ( a Boulez protégé), John Harbison, Zygmunt Krause, Theo Loevendie, James Mc Milan, Frank Martin (two concerti and a wonderful Ballade), Panufnik, Persichetti, Liebermann, Mac Kinley....
Apparently Henri Dutilleux is working on a concerto...
Olivier Messiaen: Réveil des oiseaux, Oiseaux exotiques ,both for piano & orch.
And, of course, Bohuslav Martinu (5 concerti) Darius Milhaud (5 concerti) Michael Tippett, Galina Ustvolskaya, Albert Roussel ( a short, beautiful work!), Thierry Escaich (issued a year ago with the Liège Phil/Claire-Marie LeGuay) ...
Where to start? if only "famous soloists and orchestras" would do more ...then the musical divide between Europe and the Americas (and Australia, Russia...etc) wouldn't be so deep.And a larger audience would discover that after Rachmaninoff and Grieg good concerti were written...!
And, yes, I hardly know what is going on in North American (Brazilian, Latvian,Portuguese....) concerthalls.
Last edited by PJME on Fri Mar 10, 2006 9:12 am, edited 2 times in total.

johnQpublic
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Post by johnQpublic » Thu Mar 09, 2006 11:03 am

Just bought a recording of Nancy Galbraith (an American in her 50's) and her 1st piano concerto (1993) and she wrote a second one in 2001.

rogch
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Post by rogch » Thu Mar 09, 2006 11:52 am

I have been asking myself the same question as Pizza. There are pices written for piano and orchestra. But even though i haven't seen any statistics, it seems like violin and cello are more often used as solo instruments, at least in famous works. There are exceptions of course, PJME has listed many of them. But if we look at composers from Mozart to Prokofiev piano concertos have been among the most famous works of many composers. That does not seem to be the case anymore.
Roger Christensen

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Post by diegobueno » Thu Mar 09, 2006 11:55 am

pizza wrote:PJME: Aside from Rautavaara, Lachenmann, Rihm and Henze (not exactly repertory staples themselves) many of the people you've named are fairly obscure. How many piano concerti by any of the other composers you've named have you heard in concert? And how many are in the mainstream repertoire?

I suppose Naxos will eventually record all of them if enough time passes, but that's not what I meant by composers of note.
It's in the nature of contemporary music to be not yet "in the mainstream repertoire". The question posed here seems to be one designed to ensure a negative answer.

This discussion has shown that there is no shortage of piano concertos being written today. Everyone and his grandmother is writing one. The real question is who counts as a "composer of note"? It's easy enough to define this in terms so exclusive that no living composer could possibly qualify. Anyone who follows contemporary composition, though, would have no trouble identifying Rautavaara, Henze, Rihm, Ligeti, Carter and Lutoslawski as composers of note.

And by now, I think we can count Barber's Piano Concerto as belonging to the mainstream repertoire.

PJME
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Brandnew:

Post by PJME » Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:43 pm

I agree Diego, very little really contemporary music makes it to the mainstream repertoire...The odd piece by John Adams, ( Fast ride),Thomas Adès,Magnus Lindberg... early work by "avantgardists" ( Gorecki - 3 pieces in olden style, early Messiaen) etc.
Today starts ,in Brussels, the Ars Musica Festival http://www.arsmusica.be/ with a concert by Klangforum Wien , Mathias Pintscher composer/conductor.
I'll check if they do any pianoconcerto...

Indeed, here it is - in the closing concert by the Concertgebouw orchestra:
* création belge - ** création mondiale

PIERRE-LAURENT AIMARD, piano

György Ligeti – Lontano
Peter Eötvös – CAP-KO
(Concerto for Acoustic Piano, Keyboard and Orchestra). Dedicated to Béla Bartók *
Peter-Jan Wagemans – Gravity Music *
Béla Bartók – The Miraculous
Mandarin, suite, opus 19


19:30 intro : Harry Halbreich (Fr) & Yves Knockaert (Nl)
20:00 concert

COPRODUCTION : ARS MUSICA, BOZARMUSIC

€ 40 . 30 . 20 . 15
What could be better than a closing concert by the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest? As one of the best orchestras in the world, it has made Mahler fashionable again along with creating many contemporary pieces, and has been led by some of the greatest conductors. At the request of the orchestra, Peter Eötvös composed the piano concerto CAP-KO. This is something special to look forward to, particularly with Pierre-Laurent Aimard as soloist. Ligeti’s haze of sound, the traditional modernism of Wagemans and Bartók’s classic, The Miraculous Mandarin, will make the evening complete.

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Post by Lance » Thu Mar 09, 2006 6:53 pm

There's actually quite a few obscure piano concertos by contemporary composers, some whose names you may recognize, but probably not by their piano concertos. These are all on CD, if anyone's interested. I have not heard these live.

Here's a few:

The Australian Colin Brumby (not to be confused with Grace Bumbry) wrote at least two piano concertos. His Piano Concerto No. 1 is on the JAD label [CD 1082] and was composed in 1984. It premiered in 1985. It was commissioned by the pianist who plays it on this CD, Wendy Pomroy, who attended the university with Brumby in the 1950s. The Australian Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Patrick Thomas. It times in at 31:32. If this one is marked as No. 1, there must be others, but I'm not sure if any are recorded.

Milosz Magin (1929-1999) was a celebrated Polish composer. He wrote at least three piano concertos I'm aware of. One is on the Muza (Polish) label [PNCD 329], and features his Piano Concerto No. 3 with Magin at the piano and the Lodz Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Wojciech Czepiel. It times in at 26:23.

Then there's the celebrated English conductor/pianist/composer, Sir Hamilton Harty's (1879-1941) Piano Concerto in B Minor, just issued by Naxos [8.557731] with Peter Donohoe, pianist and Ulster Orchestra conducted by Taku Yuasa. This one times in at 30:05. Harty was a popular figure in Europe before his passing in 1941. I don't believe this is a world premiere recording, but it certainly is well recorded and is most worthy of hearing.
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Post by Wallingford » Thu Mar 09, 2006 8:17 pm

Y'KNOW--I've often thought, with all the ultra-demanding virtuoso piano concertos out there, I thought it'd be neat if someone were to write an EASY one: one that your average-shmoe piano student could tackle. And it would have a bit of musical sophistication as well....a little something substantial just thrown in there. I think it's a nifty challenge for a composer; I'VE thought about writing one.
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That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
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Post by Lance » Thu Mar 09, 2006 10:21 pm

Found more!

The great Lukas Foss wrote two piano concertos:

No. 1 (1943) [first recording]
Jon Nakamatsu, piano [Van Cliburn gold medalist]

No. 2 (1949-51, rev. 1952)
Yakaov Kasman, piano [Van Cliburn silver medalist]

Both with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra
Carl St. Clair, conductor
Harmonia Mundi 907243, DDD, 77:59

The disc also includes Foss's Elegy for Anne Frank [two versions:
one with Foss's daughter Eliza Foss, and with no narration] both with Lukas Foss, piano.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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PJME
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Not to forget

Post by PJME » Fri Mar 10, 2006 4:14 am

John OgdonPiano-Igor Buketoff Royal .Philharmonic
Peter Mennin-Piano Concerto/ Richard Yardumian-Piano Concerto
RCA USA
LSC 3243
I bought this LP many years ago and was deeply impressed by Mennin's work. It is grand, angry and tormented in the fast movements ,deeply moving ,almost tragic in the slow movement. Ogdon's performance is very fine, but the sound of the piano ..sometimes ungrateful.
The Yardumian is less gripping - still a quite beautiful work;
Mennin's concerto is available on CD (coupled with the third symphony - Mitropoulos / New York Phil. and symphony nr 7 /Chicago SO /Jean Martinon). All of this very strong music in superlative performances.

Label: CRI, Inc.
Catalog #: CR741

johnQpublic
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Post by johnQpublic » Fri Mar 10, 2006 9:52 am

The Mennin is indeed an exciting concerto. The original LP's tone quality (especially the piano...it sounds like an old upright) is quite rotten unfortunately.

However, guys, too many of you are citing pieces written 50+ years ago. I think pizza wants evidence of more recent...like within the last 10-20 years.

PJME
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World premieres

Post by PJME » Fri Mar 10, 2006 11:51 am

John, it is almost impossible to make such a list . Who do we consider composers of note?
Some critics find Rautavaara, James Mac Millan, Arvo Part (Credo for Piano solo, Mixed Choir and Orchestra
(Hélène Grimaud, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Swedish Radio Choir, Stefan Parkman - on DGG )
et. al. too...soft, weird, "religous", vague, others adore the more rigorous approach of Gyorgy Kurtag, Peter Eotvos, Harrison Birtwistl,Helmut Lachenmann....see my (very incomplete) list earlier in this post.
Belgian Piet Swerts (early forties - quite popular in the Low Countries & Germany) mixes Rachmaninoff, Prokofieff and Adams ( and even a dash of Bigband) ...as if Rihm, Andriessen or Berio never existed.
If I get the chance, I'll try to form my own opinion and I just enjoy being an omnivore - from Miklos Rozsa and Respighi to Luciano Berio and Pierre Boulez.

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Post by johnQpublic » Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:26 pm

Oops...I did overlook pizza's request for "composers of note"? but actually that to me is not as important than are enough composers today writing piano concerti. If so, just because those of note haven't yet doesn't mean they won't in the near future.

I'm glad you brought up MacMillan...his "Berserking" of the early 90's is a piano concerto and it's not "vague or religious"...it's has tremendously powerful, energic portions of it.

PJME
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Post by PJME » Fri Mar 10, 2006 3:08 pm

Ok - it is not me who thinks that "some" composers are vague or all-too-religous..(Some are,. John Tavener comes to mind, and Messiaen ,of course...
.but I don't mind it ..as long as I discover (I'm listening/hoping for it!!!) inspiration, invention,seriousness,greatness) - I think of respected,unflexible,boring critics in respected,unflexible,boring newspapers and magazines...However (and that's why I mentioned the Roussel concerto, and Mennin,Rosenberg,Martinu,Martin...) I have the feeling that for many(large) audiences even these composers are too ...heavy, modern,awkward. Yet they might be exactly the composers who might learn/help "that audience" to go a little further. Enjoying music (or any other art) implies a continuous learning proces,I think.

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Post by Wallingford » Fri Mar 10, 2006 5:23 pm

I find it a shame that MENOTTI's concerto (even tho' IT'S 50+ years old) never caught on in the standard repertory.

It's flavorful, clever, accessible, well-tailored to the instrument.....howcum he's typecast as an OPERA GUY? :x
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

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