Concerto for Cello and Orchestra

Duration: 26′
Orchestration: Solo Cello; 2(Picc.) 2(E.H.) 2 2 – 2 2 1 0; 3Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
Commission: A consortium commission that includes Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, Springfield (MA) Symphony Orchestra, and Springfield (OH) Symphony Orchestra.
Premiere: October 27, 28, 2017. Julian Schwarz, cello, Toledo Symphony, Alexander Prior, conductor; Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle, Toledo, OH

Program Note:
My Cello Concerto, Op.132 was commissioned by a consortium of orchestras including the Toledo Symphony, the Jacksonville Symphony, the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (MA), and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (OH). Written for cellist Julian Schwarz, the short score (outline) of the concerto was completed in August of 2017 and the orchestration completed a month later.

I set the concerto in the customary three movements. The first has several sections, as indicated by the marking Recitativo lento – Andante piacevole ed appassionato – Allegro molto – Larhissimo – Andante – Allegro. The work opens with an accompanied cadenza for the cello, which directly leads into the Andante piacevole ed appassionato with the cello singing a long-phrased lyric melody over a glistening accompaniment. A breathlessly virtuosic Allegro follows. A return of material from the opening cadenza leads us back to the Andante before ending the movement with one last Allegro flourish.

The second movement is a heart-felt, extended Largo, and the finale movement, Allegro energico, alternates between menacing and exuberant music in a rondo-like form that highlights the soloist’s virtuosity.

The concerto is scored for two flutes (the second doubling piccolo), two oboes (the second doubling English horn), two clarinets, 2 bassoons, two French horns, two trumpets, one trombone, three percussionists playing a variety of instruments, piano (doubling celesta), harp, strings, and solo cello.

–Lowell Liebermann