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Piano Concerto

composer
2013

 
The Piano Concerto was inspired by the extraordinary design work of the Heatherwick Studio, whose Olympic Cauldron was a centrepiece at the London 2012 Games. Each of the four movements takes a particular Heatherwick project as a starting point before opening out to reveal other landscapes and related ideas.

The Fanfare, (a portrayal of the Longchamp Store in Manhattan) is a cityscape that frames exploratory cadenzas for the pianist with brass chorales and flourishes. This leads without a break to a Moto perpetuo which captures the sparkling beauty of Bleigiessen, an eight-storey-high sculpture made from thousands of glass beads hung on wires. Here, the delicate, continuous solo part generates glittering reflections rendered in varied orchestral hues.

The heart of the concerto is a spacious slow movement evoking the tranquility of the Seed Cathedral—a striking structure that housed 60,000 plant seeds at the ends of long, flexible acrylic rods. The Adagio is tinged with a bittersweet nostalgia and characterized by a romantic freedom that contrasts sharply with the highly rhythmic movements surrounding it. The Finale is a compelling, virtuosic tour de force that switches between four distinct moods, ‘bright and energetic’, ‘hard and brittle’, ‘dark’, and ‘hot blues’. The impetus was the sculpture B of the Bang, an abstract depiction of the explosion of the starting pistol in a track running race. Accented chords on xylophone and pizzicato strings suggest the large metallic structure; a 56-metre-high cluster of tapered steel rods. The opening gesture provides the movement with a powerful momentum that remains relentless throughout.

Stephen Goss’s Piano Concerto was commissioned by Stuart Mitchell Capital for Emmanuel Despax. The first performance took place at Cadogan Hall, London, on 25th April 2013.

from notes by Malcolm MacDonald © 2013

Recordings

Saint-Saëns, Goss & Franck: Piano Concertos
Studio Master: SIGCD349Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

Details

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