Concerto for Orchestra, Op. 81

Lowell Liebermann

Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

Many people have a hard time grasping the concept of a ?Concerto? for orchestra, and I have been asked many times since I started working on the piece what the difference was between a Concerto for Orchestra and a Symphony. Of course, usually a Concerto features a solo instrumentalist with orchestra, as opposed to a Symphony, which is usually without soloist. In writing a Concerto without soloist, my aim was to stress the virtuosity of the orchestra, not only by featuring solo players within the orchestra, but especially by featuring the virtuosity of the orchestra as an ensemble. In fact the ensemble difficulties of the work, particularly in the first movement, are such that I was almost tempted to call the piece ?Concerto for Conductor & Orchestra.?

The work opens with a slow introduction that outlines an octotonic (8-note) scale from which much of the material of the concerto is built. Motivic fragments are also introduced that are expanded later in the work. The body of the first movement is an expanded A-B-A form: a relentless Vivace with many meter changes and tricky cross-rhythms flanks a contrasting lyric section. An abrupt pause leads the slow movement, a sectional Adagio that builds on motivic fragments heard earlier. This leads directly into the final movement, an Allegro which juxtaposes a fanfare-like motive in the horns with a chorale theme built on the octotonic scale that is varied in a Passacaglia-like fashion and fugal sections built previous material.

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Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by the Edward H. Schmidt Musical Args Fund of the Toledo Symphony
Composition Date 2002
Duration 00:30:00
Orchestration 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) - 4 3 3 1: Timp. 5Perc. Pno.(dbl. Cel.) Hp. Str.
Premiere September 20, 2002Peristyle Theater, Toledo, OhioThe Toledo SymphonyGrant Llewellyn, conductor