Philip Hayes was a talented provincial composer. He was born in Oxford where his father was professor of music, a post he inherited in 1777. His six keyboard concertos were published in 1769 when he was living mainly in London and working as a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal. They are the first set by an Englishman to specify the piano, and though in general their solo parts work equally well on the other specified alternatives, the harpsichord and the organ, the light galant style of the A major Concerto benefits from the dynamic shading possible on the new instrument. It is fortunate that the string parts survive for this set, for Hayes uses them unusually imaginatively, even making a distinction between a solo quartet and the full band in the first movement. The Grazioso is a beautiful example of a type much favoured by English composers of the period: an aria-like movement in minuet rhythm with a hymn-like melody.
from notes by Peter Holman © 1994