Piano Concerto No. 1


Piano Concerto No. 1


for piano and orchestra (2010)

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  • Premiere: 16 October 2010 / Yakima Symphony Orchestra / Tanya Stambuk / Lawrence Golan / Seasons Music Festival, Yakima, WA
  • Instrumentation: 2-2-2-2.2-2-2-0.timp.str
  • Duration: 24'
  • All downloads are digital. For paper music visit our distribution partner Theodore Front.


Program note

The first movement is a set of variations by turns driving, mysterious, vivacious, and visionary. The first three movements were composed in Austin, Texas during the first production there of the opera Bandanna. Variations 4-6 were composed at Yaddo, in Saratoga Springs, New York; the last two variations were composed in New York City and the movement completed  in November of 2002. The pitches of the theme: D-A-B-B-flat, heard at the outset, are derived from combining the initials of  Ralph Berkowitz, the accompanist of Piatagorsky and former Dean of the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood,  and the composer's own.  

The brutally difficult second movement explores a theme the composer hears in a recurring dream about drowning. In it, the orchestra is the  ocean; the pianist is the swimmer. It is unclear how the dream ends.  

The third movement is a musical sphinx: in it, the solo piano reveals a secret of an unknown or unknowable nature.  

The finale, titled "Elegy," returns to the melodic material of the final variation of the first movement and overlays a new theme composed of falling triplets.

Hagen looks on as Lawrence Golan rehearses the Yakima Symphony, Tanya Stambuk soloist, in the Piano Concerto.