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Inspired by the great free jazz pianist Fred Van Hove - who, by chance, happens to have been my neighbour for the past seven years - I explored the world of completely free music, lacking any melody or theme, where sound and gesture appear to be improvised in the moment. However, being a composer and not an improviser, I needed restrictions on putting a thrilling piece of music together in which I couldn’t allow for a single improvised note. The act of composing goes further than that of improvisation and so it took me almost eight months to finish this piece.
In this piano concerto, the pianist takes the lead and brings all the new musical material to the surface as if it were an actual improvisation. The orchestra only organically comments on the music by imitating or transforming the original material.
For the first time in my evolution as a composer, I’ve used clusters in my music. In contrast to Van Hove’s free cluster playing, I wanted more structure, which I achieved by sliding mutes onto certain keys of the piano and thus muting them. This enables the pianist to play clusters with his hand palm while not having to worry with the keys of the missing tones. Because of the overtones caused by other strings though, these missing tones will resonate either way, even after the final chord.
Besides several cluster techniques, this piano concerto is also extremely virtuoso for the soloist because of the polyrhythmic shifts between the two hands. The resounding result that I’ve always had in mind is an organic, lively, sparkling and even humorous music in which the pianist can display his musical and technical skills to the edge of imagination.
- Flute / Piccolo
- Oboe / Cor Anglais
- Clarinet in Bb/Eb
- Clarinet in Bb / Bass Clarinet in Bb
- Alto Saxophone / Baritone Saxophone in Eb
- Horn in F
- Piano solo