Movement 1: Allegro maestoso
Movement 2: Andante pastorale – Allegro – Tempo I
Movement 3: Allegro con spirito
The Andante pastorale uses the key of the flattened sixth (A flat) favoured by Beethoven in his C minor concerto, and by many subsequent composers. A horn plays an opening melody with a pretty accompaniment on the piano and plucked strings. The piano then takes up the tale. An episode starts in F minor; then comes a totally unexpected shift to Allegro, followed by a tonal surprise with loud piano chords in 6/8, and another mysterious passage with fragmentary phrases for various instruments. If this suggests a romantic narrative, its nature is left to our imagination. The main tune returns and the movement ends in a luscious dream. The finale (Allegro con spirito) begins with a bustling theme in F minor, but it soon becomes clear that the triumphant key of C major will set the mood. Several more surprises are in store: a contrasting section in E major before the middle cadence in G; a fugato, beginning in the strings; and a brief recall of the tune from the Andante, played by the oboe. In the drive to the finish, triplets provide an added rush of excitement.
from notes by Nicholas Temperley © 2009