Irene Scharrer – The complete electric and selected acoustic recordings
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Movement 1: Allegro con fuoco
Movement 2: Scherzo: Presto
Movement 3: Adagio religioso
Movement 4: Allegro impetuoso
The first movement, Allegro con fuoco, retains the double exposition structure seen in the second concerto. Each exposition adopts transformation and inversion and uses the thematic material sequentially. The Scherzo (Presto) is again the second movement, and its use of triangle and piccolo gives it a novel effect, helping to fulfil the generic meaning of the title ‘Concerto Symphonique’. Litolff’s manipulation of the orchestra and piano in question-and-answer type motifs produces one of his finest Scherzos.
The third movement (Adagio religioso) is linked to the second without pause and serves as the modulating force from D minor to F major. In three-part form, the third movement is improvisational in character. The final Allegro impetuoso has an introduction followed by a carefully worked-out sonata structure with some tempo changes within the movement. The virtuosic conclusion, with its flourishes and bravura character, underscores Litolff’s coloristic use of the piano and the orchestra.
The concerto is scored for two flutes, piccolo, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, timpani and strings.
from notes by Ted Blair © 1997