Movement 1: Poco lento – Allegro – Poco lento
Movement 2: Andantino
Movement 3: Poco presto
The first movement, which opens and closes Poco lento, is built upon a single melodic idea that is first introduced by the strings in the slow introduction. In the main Allegro section, this theme is presented in various guises—at first it appears in a lively syncopated passage written for the piano and later it is transformed through the inversion of some of its intervals into a striking, lyrical melody that is passed between various instruments in the orchestra. The same series of pitches is also used as the primary source material for each of the remaining two movements. In the Andantino, the series is used to create a darker, brooding character, while in the lively rondo finale (Poco presto), it appears in the grandiose main theme, which itself reflects Williamson’s exposure to popular music in London’s nightclubs and recalls the tunefulness of his overture Santiago de Espada (1957). Although the concerto is essentially monothematic, the diverse treatment of the initial germinal idea shows Williamson’s ingenuity and his already abundant skills as a melodist and as a writer of challenging, idiomatic music for the piano.
from notes by Carolyn Philpott © 2014