“It’s very direct, it’s very honest, it’s very melodic and it’s very beautiful.” Peter Jablonski, pianist
Written for the pianist Peter Jablonski, the concerto has multiple inspirations and ‘represents a journey of hope and love which finds its destination in the all-encompassing glory of God.’ This is a journey of excitement and – above all – majesty, through the pain of loss and bereavement, through to victory and the fulfilment of hope.
The heroic main theme of the first movement is contrasted with the more ethereal, plainsong-based second theme. The atmosphere is sometimes turbulent, and sometimes tender, but the overall mood is one of confident optimism which is clearly displayed, for instance, in the cadenza and the militaristic style of the final section.
The second movement centres around the pain and sorrow of human bereavement. Muted strings introduce the emotive first theme before it is taken up by the piano. A folk-like second theme on the oboe is then woven into a structure which is partly elegiac and partly strophic. Towards the middle, there is a brief reference to the fanfare rhythms of the first movement before the plaintive atmosphere returns and rippling piano figurations steer this movement to a fragile close.
Marked ‘jubiloso’, the finale tells of the triumph of light over darkness as witnessed by Christ’s disciples on the first Easter morning. The oscillating strings grow from the dying embers of the second movement and underscore the dialogue between horns and trombones which, in turn, speak of victory and great majesty. Contrast is provided by the scherzando sections – innocent, even childlike, in nature – and by the occasional cessation of rhythms within the main beat which provide moments of reflection for the listener. As the concerto drives towards its close, the rhythms become more pulsating before orchestra and piano reach a triumphant consummation.
The concerto received its world premiere at the Enescu Festival in September 2021.
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