The Piano Concerto in C minor Op 12 probably dates from the end of 1886. Again a connection with Saint-Saëns is discernible – most particularly in its unusual movement sequence which matches Saint-Saëns’ own Second Piano Concerto. The opening movement resembles a classical first movement form – though Pierné extends the usual exposition section to create a three-part structure preceded by an imposing maestoso introduction, dominated by the piano. The brief development section and heavily truncated recapitulation suggest that Pierné felt happier working within his own structural frameworks. As in many of Pierné’s works these structures rely less on classical models than on the repeated use of motifs which lend the works an almost cyclical character. The scherzando middle movement is most reminiscent of Saint-Saëns and strongly suggests a conscious imitation on the part of Pierné. The impressive final movement is a brilliant rondo which makes liberal use of previous material, particularly from the first movement, to create a sense of unity. Pierné chose to dedicate his piano concerto to another famous female pianist, Maria Roger-Miclos, who later became the dedicatee – and gave the first performance – of Saint-Saëns’ fantasia for piano and orchestra, Africa Op 89.
from notes by Stephen Coombs © 2003