Concerto for Piano Duet and Orchestra

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This Concerto was written with the Maclé Duo in mind, Sabrina Dente and Annamaria Garibaldi. It is written for medium orchestral forces, double woodwinds, four horns, two each of trumpets and trombones, timpani, celesta, two percussionists and strings. It is in three movements and lasts just over 20 minutes.

The style fuses some of the so called ‘Post-modern’ idioms with a kind of New Age music. In fact, I have used the chord sequence from my ‘Mantra’ for electronic keyboard, which was conceived as music for relaxation and meditation, as a starting point for the Concerto. Also, it is subtitled ‘If Music be the Food of Love…’ (Shakespeare ‘Twelfth Night’) and each movement is headed by a short quotation about different aspects of love from different religious writings.

The first movement, called ‘Loving Life’, is headed by a quotation from the Dhammapada (sayings of the Buddha), and opens with a slow section based on the nine-chord sequence from ‘Mantra’. This is to appear in Rondo fashion during this movement. In between is an Allegro, the first main theme deriving from a short phrase in the introductory slow section. The second main theme is introduced by the pianists and, by contrast, is much more dramatic.

The second movement is another Allegro and is a quasi Scherzo. It is called ‘Loving the World’ and is headed by a quotation from 1 John, 2:15-16 (New Testament). The main themes are surrounded by huge chords, firstly from the pianists and then from the brass, so nothing could be more remote than the opening ‘Mantra’ theme. Instead, the movement expresses mankind’s love for material delights. This movement ends with a massive cadenza for the two pianists, based on themes already heard amidst pianistic gestures, and leads without a break to the third movement.

This final movement is marked ‘Lento e Tranquillo’ and is called ‘The Rose of Love’. The quotation is from the ‘Hidden Words’ by Bahá’u’lláh (Founder of the Bahá’í Faith) – number 3 from the Persian – which expresses the need for inward love and affection, a love that is more spiritual. It is based entirely on the ‘Mantra’ theme where the nine chords are repeated, seemingly endlessly, but like a sequence of variations. The close of this movement is taken from the first movement’s use of this theme, and towards the end, the music ascends and transforms the listener into a higher realm.

Score ID
Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
21 minutes
Orchestra + solo Piano
Modern classical music

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