Concerto No. 1 ?'a Shifting Trek'?

for Piano and Orchestra

Sydney Hodkinson

Duration: 00:32:00
Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

This composition was commissioned in 1996 by the Institute of American Music of the University of Rochester?s Eastman School of Music as part of Eastman?s 75th Anniversary celebrations.

While the historical Fast - Slow - Fast Sonata design of the traditional concerto form is present in this piece, the poetic idea was one of continual renewal, the gestures and material expanding and contracting seemingly according to their own innate will, not one imposed from without by the force of a concretized structure. The sequences evolve into a sort-of-Sonata-Form. For example the exposition gets no further than the outset of a ?development? before losing its way on the shifting musical journey; hence the subtitle?s allusion. Growth within the piece is largely by accretion: the juxtaposition and manipulation of large ?slabs? and small ?shards? of sonic gestures.

Following a lengthy introduction, wherein the pianist ?tests out,? as it were, the essence of the movements to come, the first Allegro presents some of these alternating ?chunks? ? some quite brief ? which culminate in a series of reiterated G minor chords, as if the soloist wishes to end the movement. The orchestra initially objects to this closure and, although it reluctantly acquiesces, it leaves the musical dialogue unrequited: ?full payment? has to wait a while longer.

The second movement commences immediately with a cantabile aria built up from the resonances of the first section. Its form is simple: a 16-note melodic line, habitually repeated ? almost passacaglia-like ? and colored with differing harmonic treatments. The climax of the orchestra comes too early to please the soloist, however, and only after the latter?s own high-point ? the first cadenza ? does the accompaniment subside into the D-flat major it has been long seeking. This section, written in memory of two deceased Rochester friends, pianists Wallace Gray and Barbara Koeng, leads directly into movement III.

Although the final Allegro dons the raiment of a separate ?perpetual-motion? movement, it is actually wearing very familiar clothes: ?blocks? from Movement I recur, often with faster tempos and radically altered ordering, which perhaps may avenge the earlier lack of fulfillment. Much arguing ensues: a traditional feature of concerto style. These arguments work up considerable frenzy and lead into the soloist?s second Cadenza ? now accompanied ? which drives the concerto to a vociferous B-flat minor close. The tonal center of each movement (I B-flat and G, II D-flat, III E & B-flat) proceed largely by minor thirds which are borne from the initial melodic chains of the Intrada. My principal intent was to fashion a work for a dear friend of lucid line and clear structure, bound together in an aesthetically pleasing design.

"Concerto No. 1" is roughly 32 minutes in duration, the bulk of it composed in Fairport, NY, in late 1997. Further work was done in Durham, NC, and Ormond-by-the-Sea, FL, with the orchestration completed in April of 2004. The score is dedicated to the American pianist Barry Snyder, who kindly offered me much friendly keyboard advice during its embryonic stages. Mr. Snyder gave the first performances in Rochester, NY, during the 2005-06 season.

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by the Institute of American Music of the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester for the School's 75th Anniversary.
Composition Date 1997, orch. 2004
Orchestration Solo Pno.; 2(2.Picc.) 2(dbl. E.H.) 2(dbl.E-flatCl.) 2(dbl.Cbsn.) - 4 3 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 4Perc. Cel. Str.(min.
Premiere February 25th 2007. Barry Snyder, Piano, Eastman Philharmonia, conducted by Bradley Lubman, Rochester, NY.


Intrada: Con grandezza: quasi senza misura
I. Allegro energico, impetuoso
II. Arioso Ricorrente: sospeso, marcato
III. Allegro, vivace (Played without pause)

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