for piano and orchestra (2000) – 16 minutes
Orchestration: 2222, 4220, 3 perc, solo pno, strings
Movement for Piano and Orchestra is an extended sonata allegro. Following the slow introduction—which is inspired by discovered fragments from the music for the Stasimon Chorus of Eurypedes’ Orestes, the earliest known notated music (ca. 200 B.C.)—a pulsating crescendo leads to the entry of the soloist announcing the first theme, dominated by nagging and assertive repeated notes and the tension of trying to pull away from them. There is an eventual resolution to placid repetition as the new melodic and rhythmic world of the second theme gently overtakes the more primitive first theme. This new theme, an awkward and highly gestured andante, is taken first by the orchestra and then by the soloist, with variations following.
The development begins with a polyrhythm, each of whose components becomes, by metric modulation, the new pulse of the tempo, bringing about a gradual accelerando. This leads to a psuedo-recapitulation of the murky introduction, now vibrant and jazzy, and a short reflective development of this material. The true recapitulation of the first theme—which arrives, as before, in the piano—is heralded by an extended presentation of the pulsing orchestral crescendo that had originally introduced it. When this is abruptly halted, the nagging repeated notes from the first theme become simply an upbeat to the return of the colorful and caricaturesque second theme. There is then an ominous return of the pulsating crescendo, leading to the final insistence of the piano on C, with whirling scales, and the resignation of the orchestra to the same.
Dedicated to John Lustig
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