Russell Smith & Lee Hoiby: PIano Concertos
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCRL214     Release Date: 2010-02-01

Andrzej Stefanski, piano; John Atkins, piano
Polish National Radio Orchestra, Jan Krenz, conductor

Speaking of his Second Piano Concerto, Russell Smith observes that it was written, “simply because I wanted to explore the piano concerto form again.” As in Tetrameron, composed at about the same time, Mr. Smith employs what might be described as “modern classic” speech, unambiguously tonal in orientation, and powerfully virile in expression. The first movement is in sonata pattern with double exposition. The slow movement is also in sonata form with canonic episodes taking the form of richly ornamented retrogrades, inversions, and retrograde-inversions. The final allegro is in theme-and-variation format—the first three variations building toward a climax, the following two treating the theme in its skeletal aspects. A musette variation serves by way of whimsical interlude, and the climactic close of the work is arrived at by way of three final variations.

Describing the formal course of his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Lee Hoiby tells us: “The piano begins with a quiet statement of the principal theme, which is then exchanged with the orchestra and led though several keys, without transition, directly to the second subject, in tempo giusto. There is a closing section, wherein two new motives appear at the same time. Development of all this material follows, leading to a solo piano cadenza, and a brief summarizing recapitulation with coda, the lento second movement is by turns lyrical, contemplative, and rhapsodic, with an embellished cadenza prominent in the early pages.

“The allegro vivo finale offers a dancing 7/8 solo piano figure by way of the main theme, which is counterpointed by a separate rhythm for muted brass. This theme is alternated with two contrasting sections in sonata-rondo fashion. The last pages of the concerto are marked by steadily increasing momentum leading to a fortissimo close.”

 

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Polish National Radio Orchestra

Russell Smith & Lee Hoiby: PIano Concertos

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Track Listing

Second Piano Concerto: I. Allegro giusto
Russell Smith
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Second Piano Concerto: II. Canons - Andante sostenuto
Russell Smith
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Second Piano Concerto: III. Variations - Allegro
Russell Smith
Buy
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 17: I. -
Lee Hoiby
Buy
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 17: II. Lento
Lee Hoiby
Buy
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 17: III. Allegro vivo
Lee Hoiby
Buy