A sunny and life affirming work with an emphasis on expression and colour rather than virtuosity.
This concerto was commissioned in 2008 by the Manukau Symphony Orchestra for soloist Emma Sayers, who subsequently played it with the Auckland Philharmonia. Some years later Sayers along with Richard Mapp created a duo version for 2 pianos for various performances.
The work is a sunny and life-affirming. There are moments of reflection however, such as the slow introduction that features a long and melancholy melody. This becomes the basis for the 'allegro' that follows which features three main ideas. The second of these is hyperactive and unpredictable, while the third theme is more lyrical, and neo-classical in style. A busy development section builds to a climax and then the themes appear in reverse order. The fleet-footed coda features canonic entries that bring the movement to a bubbly conclusion.
In the slow movement a modal melody is undercut by dissonances, suggesting painful memories. A second theme is simple, lyrical and arching. After development of the theme, there is a short solo that brings the music back to the opening. A short, quiet coda follows.
The finale is whimsical and neo-classical in style, and suggestive of wind-up toys. Dramatic gestures are really only mock-dramatic, and serious ideas give way to playful fun as ideas are shared between the two pianos.
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