The work opens with a short introductory horn announcement over tremolo strings and piano flourishes, which leads to the Allegro con spirito first theme (briefly heard in the introduction) in piano octaves, before a scherzando-like passage arrives at a swaying Poco meno mosso second theme in D major. The first theme returns and is freely developed with punchy rhythmic exchanges between woodwind and piano, until agitated piano octaves interrupt the orchestral build-up, eventually subsiding into the Andante grazioso middle section. Legatissimo piano arpeggios accompany an expressive string melody, creating a fluid texture as the piano drifts into a Più lento dreamy Impressionistic world. A solo oboe and violin then anticipate the return of the opening theme. There follows a brief Molto maestoso, before a brass fanfare leads us back once more to the first theme, before the final Allegro con fuoco third section further explores thematic material from the Andante grazioso. A brief explosive cadenza and piano pyrotechnics precede a last Maestoso brass fanfare as the work draws triumphantly to an end.
from notes by Glen Ballard © 2008