Pixis’s [Grand] Piano Concerto in C major, Op 100, was composed in 1829 and dedicated to ‘His Imperial Majesty of Austria’. The work sets out in conventional form (Allegro moderato) with an orchestral exposition of the first movement’s two principal themes, the first of which makes much play with a dotted quaver–semiquaver–crotchet (or semibreve) figure that appears throughout in various guises. The soloist’s first declamatory entry seems to be an independent idea which quickly subsides into the lyrical second subject. The soloist is kept busily occupied, the orchestra offering cushioned support, until at 7'05'', after a tutti, the key modulates unexpectedly from the tonic to E flat major with the soloist introducing an entirely new idea (at 7'42''). Hardly have we settled to this but Pixis changes course again with a lovely nocturne-like theme in F sharp major (con molto espressione) which eventually returns to the home key via D major and to that insistent opening dotted figure. After a re-examination of the earlier material the movement ends in triumphant style.
The brief second movement (Adagio cantabile), in the key of A flat major and with the unusual time signature of 12/8, begins in arresting fashion with tremolo strings. When it enters, the piano is again in nocturnal mood (more Field than Chopin) but becomes ever more elaborate with its decorative figurations until a full-blown cadenza at 3'15''. After a few moments of reflection, the piano leads directly and without reference to the orchestra into the perky 2/4 rondo theme of the finale (Allegretto scherzando). The recapitulation of this leads to the introduction of fresh ideas, briefly in the same key as the slow movement (4'27''). A fermata at 7'30'' and a ‘Waltzing Matilda’ horn fanfare herald the coda and a dash for the finishing line.
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2012