Concerto for Piano and Orchestra — Mvt IV

Instrumentation
  • 2222 | 4331 | timp+2 | solo piano | strings
Duration
c. 7'45
Movements
IV Ebullition (zesty) 7'45
Listen to a recording
Jeffrey Chappell, piano; Sebrina Maria Alfonso, conductor; Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra
Purchase a recording
Reviews | Comments

... not only is the writing entirely idiomatic for the instrument, but within the impressive scope of the piece one finds an astonishing number of ideas, and these are enormously varied and strongly communicative... after five performances, I have never left the stage without being called back two or more times...

Jeffrey Chappell, pianist
soloist on recording with Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra
 

... a wild, energetic, kaleidoscopic piece... at turns lyrical, rhythmic, humorous, and dramatic... creates an experience of far greater intensity than is usually experienced by audiences when new music is performed... passes through the full range of human emotions... a cathartic and moving experience for performers and audiences alike...

Michael Arnowitt, pianist
soloist with University of Vermont Symphony Orchestra.

...reaction to your concerto was simply terrific... I continue to hear rave reviews from everyone I come in contact with... thank you for writing a work of remarkable beauty and power...

Robert Palmer, pianist
soloist with the Muncie Symphony Orchestra

... wow!... the whole piece came across most eloquently... the Rhapsody [third movement] caught me in the gut and didn¹t let go... the piano had absolutely stunningly gorgeous melodic content... the last movement sounds like Bartok, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Scriabin all rolled into one pair of hands... what a finale!...

Gale Bullock
Music Critic, Columbia, Missouri

... a large-scale work full of color, much variety of style, and imagination [that] has continuous appeal for the listener... a monumental, major accomplishment... 

William Hudson, Music Director
Fairfax Symphony Orchestra

Commissioned by
  • • Fairfax Symphony Orchestra | William Hudson, Music Director; Jeffrey Chappell, piano
  • • Muncie Symphony Orchestra | Leonard Atherton, Music Director; Robert Palmer, piano
  • • Goucher Chamber Symphony | Sebrina Alfonso, Music Director; Jeffrey Chappell, piano
  • • Univ of VT Symphony Orchestra | David Davenport, Music Director; Michael Arnowitt, piano
  • • Frederick Symphony Orchestra | Sebrina Alfonso, Music Director; Jeffrey Chappell, piano
  • • Missouri Symphony Society Hugo Vianello, Music Director; Jeffrey Chappell, piano
Year of composition
1994
Program note

The Concerto for Piano and Orchestra is the result of a commissioning consortium—six orchestras, their music directors, and four pianists joined me in planning this work for premiere during the 1994-95 concert season. The four pianists were Michael Arnowitt (Montpelier, VT), Jeffrey Chappell (Washington, DC), Robert Palmer (Muncie, IN), and Ron Levy (Woodcliff Lake, NJ). Following is a list of the orchestras who participated in the piano concerto consortium, their music directors and the three pianists who premiered the work in 1995:

• Fairfax Symphony Orchestra
William Hudson, Music Director; Jeffrey Chappell, piano

• Muncie Symphony Orchestra
Leonard Atherton, Music Director; Robert Palmer, piano

• Goucher Chamber Symphony
Sebrina Alfonso, Music Director; Jeffrey Chappell, piano

• University of Vermont Symphony Orchestra
David Davenport, Music Director; Michael Arnowitt, piano

• Frederick Symphony Orchestra
Sebrina Alfonso, Music Director; Jeffrey Chappell, piano

• Missouri Symphony Society
Hugo Vianello, Music Director; Jeffrey Chappell, piano

The concerto is presented in four movements, preceded by an introductory Invocation for solo piano that briefly presents the musical building blocks upon which the four movements are based.

The gentle Invocation is followed by the explosive first movement, Toccata (hell-bent), which asks the pianist to explore and exploit the full range of the piano keyboard with unrelenting vigor.

The second movement, Invention (quirky) - Dance (elegant), contrasts the somewhat eccentric, angular rhetoric of the imitative Invention with a graceful and more conventionally melodic Dance.

The romantic, expansive third movement, Rhapsody (tender), unabashedly invokes beauty and pathos in the spirit of the late 19th-century concerto.

Employing a variety of orchestral textures and tempi, the fourth and final movement, Ebullition (zesty), finds the piano weaving its way through now familiar musical materials as it pushes inexorably towards the concerto’s conclusion.

The musical language of the concerto orbits several simple melodic and harmonic cells that are developed both tonally (Invocation, Rhapsody, Dance), and not-so-tonally (Toccata, Invention, Ebullition). The juxtaposition of these two harmonic “spins” sets up a sonic platform conducive to exhibiting the vast range and versatility of the piano -- not to mention the impressive virtuosity of the pianist.

The Concerto for Piano and Orchestra is dedicated with thanks to my colleague and friend, composer Ellen Lindquist.

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