Lora: Piano Cto.; Weiss: Theme and Variations
The Concerto For Piano And Orchestra was composed in 1948, while Antonio Lora was a member of the faculty at Ohio State University. It is cast in three movements, of which the composer has given the following descriptive analysis:

Maestoso-Allegro
“The piano, opens with a series of powerful introductory chords and octaves, followed by the announcement of the first theme in the orchestra. This pattern is reiterated before an episode leads us into the second theme, which is again announced by the strings and repeated by the piano. The development is animated and vigorous. There is interesting interplay between solo instruments and orchestra, culminating in an orchestral climax and the cadenza. The recapitulation, with foreshortening of both themes, leads to a brilliant coda.”

Andantino, quasi Andante
“The theme proper is preceded by contrasting solo utterances from piano and front orchestra. An obbligato-like thread in the piano’s upper register decorates an elegiac theme which the strings sing out, growing in intensity until the solo instrument breaks forts with a surging and impassioned presentation of the subject matter. There is a brief respite before a restatement of the opening measures.”

Allegro molto-Burlesco
“Like the first movement, the third is cast in the traditional Sonata Allegro form. After a few octave passages in the piano, the orchestra launches into the theme proper, which typifies the articulate and rhythmic nature of the entire movement. The jaunty mood is sustained with no letup, save for the contrasting second theme and the short cadenza. If the orchestral texture is restrained and rather subdued, this was intentional, for I wished the sonorities and crystalline tones of the piano to be heard at all times above the orchestra.”

When Adolph Weiss’ Theme And Variations For Orchestra were premiered in April, 1936, by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under Pierre Monteux, Alfred Frankenstein, critic of the San Francisco Chronicle, described them in these terms:
“Weiss succeeded in combining the utmost scholastic craft with powerful and poignant expressive values. On the purely musical side, the impression of the first hearing is one of tremendous concentration of energy. The theme is put through a series of brilliantly designed transformations, but there is no meaningless elaboration of unessentials. Astonishing twists of texture are unfolded; new and interesting orchestral devices are revealed.”
An interesting bit of information not mentioned in this quotation is that the variations are based on the sequence of stanzas in Whitman’s “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed.” The music does not describe the stanzas, nor could it be called programmatic. But, in the composer’s own words, “The spiritual content of the poem fixed the sequence of musical ideas as well as the form of the composition.”


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The Vienna Orchestra

Lora: Piano Cto.; Weiss: Theme and Variations

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Track Listing

Concerto for Piano and Orchestra: I. Maestoso - Allegro
Antonio Lora
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Concerto for Piano and Orchestra: II. Andantino quasi andante
Antonio Lora
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Concerto for Piano and Orchestra: III. Allegro molto
Antonio Lora
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Theme and Variations for Orchestra
Adolph Weiss
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