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Concertino for piano and string orchestra


Jacob first wrote for piano and strings when in 1927 he produced a concerto which was played by the Australian composer and pianist Arthur Benjamin. Twenty-seven years later in the Concertino for piano and strings, Jacob finds a more hard-edged sound-world than his contemporaries, and despite the small scale of his movements creates a notably personal world.

The three-minute miniature first movement is derived almost entirely from the catchy one-bar falling motif we hear at the outset, which recurs again and again. This generates the lyrical slow theme which follows, briefly given telling emotion as a high violin solo. The music is given an almost Gallic elegance and wit by the constant chromatic changes and the dry insouciance of the presentation.

The following slow movement is notable for the chiselled lines of the piano writing, at first just a single line in either hand but given sudden warmth by the unexpected arpeggiated accompaniment. Towards the end the music increases in tempo as the piano has a miniature cadenza before the reflective close.

The finale rolls scherzo and finale into one with a skittish neo-classical movement in which the piano writing is notably clean, eschewing warm harmonies or classical piano figurations, but consisting of a rhythmic piano line in two parts, occasionally harmonised in fourths and octaves. This gives a dry and objective sound-world, brief and to the point, in which all is over and done in under three minutes.

from notes by Lewis Foreman © 2002


Peacock Pie
CDA67316Archive Service


Movement 1: Allegro con spirito
Movement 2: Andante
Movement 3: Allegro scherzando

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