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Work

2010
Duration:
30' 00"
Contents:
The concerto is in seven movements, which are played without a break:
1. Funeral March
2. Adagio 1
3. Scherzo 1
4. Addolorato
5. Scherzo 2
6. Adagio 2
7. Presto

Samples

application/pdf,299k Score (299k) first page of each movement© Lyell Cresswell

External Media on Demand

Programme Note

The composer writes: "Movements 3, 4, 5 and 6 were written before Edward (Harper) died, but he was already ill with cancer and the whole concerto was written under the shadow of this.

The first movement, Funeral March, opens with a sequence of low six-note chords in the piano. These chords provide the basis for the complete concerto and are treated in various contrasting ways in each movement. The orchestra becomes an extension of the piano, sustaining these chords and taking them where the piano can’t go. The concerto is not a confrontation between soloist and orchestra – the piano is more like another section of the orchestra. A slow throbbing, but varying, pulse runs through the Funeral March – first in the harp, sometimes the timpani, sometimes pizzicato and, at the climax, with brass and woodwind. In the following tranquil Adagio the six-note chords are turned into serene melodic lines with quiet sustained chords in the strings. The first scherzo is short, fast and restless. The central movement, Addolorato (distressed, grieved, upset), is, in turn, slow and reflective (in the piano), and querulous and disturbing (in the orchestra), posing questions rather than offering solutions. The second scherzo is fast, light and fleeting – with a hushed centre. The second Adagio is composed of slow, unsettled and quiet chords leading to an angry outburst at the climax, and the pace in the final presto is only interrupted briefly with some reference to Adagio 1."

Extract from a review by Michael Tumelty for “The Herald” in Scotland, 19 March 2012.: “Stars of the night were Lyell Cresswell, for his volcanic, volatile Piano Concerto, and pianist Stephen de Pledge for his powerhouse delivery, with its sledgehammer force and shockingly steel-like clarity in the poignant, reflective moments in the music.”

Commissioned:
Commissioned by Jack Richards for Stephen De Pledge
Dedication:
This piano concerto is written in memory of a close friend, the composer, Edward Harper, who died on Easter Sunday 2009

Performance History

World Premiere for P: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra; NZSO, de Pledge; 130511 13 May 2011 Performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and pianist Stephen de Pledge with conductor Hamish McKeich in Wellington
Hamish McKeich    New Zealand Symphony Orchestra    Stephen De Pledge
28 May 2011 Performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and pianist Stephen de Pledge with conductor Hamish McKeich in Auckland
Hamish McKeich    New Zealand Symphony Orchestra    Stephen De Pledge
17 Mar 2012 Performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra with conductor Concerto for Piano and Orchestra and pianist Stephen de Pledge at the City Halls in Glasgow
Stephen De Pledge
23 Mar 2013 Performed by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Stephen De Pledge – piano, cond. Benjamin Northey, Air Force Museum of New Zealand, Christchurch
Christchurch Symphony    Stephen De Pledge

Awards

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