Second Piano Concerto

Samuel Adler

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Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

The Second Piano Concerto was commissioned by the Friends of Today?s Music for the Music Teachers Association of California, for the one -hundredth anniversary of the organization in 1997, and was premiered at their convention in San Francisco on July 7. 1997. The work is in four rather brief movements:

The first movement, marked "Fast and Jubilant", is an energetic dialogue between the orchestra and the piano soloist. Out of the agitated passagework emerge two lyrical themes. The first is stated by the piano, but constantly interrupted by the orchestra; finally it comes into its own, played again by the soloist and developed immediately by the winds and then the strings. The development of both the passagework and the two parts of the theme constitute the main body of the first movement throughout. It never rests except for some orchestral ?pyramids,? which build up chords and act almost like cadence points or temporary resting places in an otherwise over-active environment. The movement ends with a series of secco chords, alternating between the piano and orchestra.

The second movement, marked "Quite slowly and Expressively", is introduced by a rather ethereal series of chords performed by the winds and the celesta. This is followed by a long first them played by the soloist and taken up by various members of the orchestra, then elaborated by the piano. After a choral-like passage in the brass, the piano introduces a new, even more romantic tune, which is the basis of the ?B? section. It has a pastoral feeling to it and plays itself out slowly, leading back to the beginning and a return of the ?A? them with variations. The movement ends very quietly on an A-major chord.

This is followed by a scherzo marked "Joyous and Playful". A rousing beginning leads to a jolly waltz. These two characteristics pervade the entire movement, except for a middle section, which acts as a trio with very rhythmic and uneven feeling and constantly shifting meters. The return of the initial material is again much varied, and the witty appearance of the ?trio? fragments bring the movement to a rather abrupt ending.

The final movement, marked "Triumphantly", begins with the percussion section setting a festive mood, and, after an exchange of staccato chords between the orchestra and the soloist, the strings introduce a long first theme accompanied by arpeggios in the piano. This them recurs after each contrasting section to build an old-fashioned rondo-finale form. The work ends full of good spirit with a great deal of dialogue between soloist and orchestra.

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Scores & Parts

Concerto No. 2 - Condensed Score

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by Friends of Today?s Music for the Music Teachers Association of California for their 100th anniversary, 1997.
Duration 00:22:00
Orchestration Solo Pno.; 2 2 2 2 - 2 2 2 1; Timp. 2Perc. Pno. Str.