Piano Concerto (2016)
for Michael Kieran Harvey
Tel Aviv Soloists Ensemble
Divertimenti String Ensemble
Concerto for Piano and Strings (2016)
for Michael Kieran Harvey
Concerto for Piano and Strings
Concerto for Piano and Strings is a subtle synthesis of musical genres, colours, textures and energies. This composition, like many of my more recent works, was influenced by some tragic events that occurred around the world while I was writing the music. The current human suffering and conflict impacted on me profoundly, and the continuous, unrelenting bloodshed of the civil war in Syria was on my mind throughout the nine months of composing this piece.
The music is introduced to us, the listeners, through the eyes of an observer, as if a mirror is being held in front of us, to reflect and portray the feelings of people who live with deep love but also experience constant unimaginable sorrow and anguish. In a way the piece is a sort of a storytelling, compressing some of the headlights of our time but in fast forward and fast changing perspective. It is a narrative moving abruptly from one musical image to another and conveying differing emotions, oscillating between the mysterious and the exposed, between the passions of love and the coldness of harsh and brutal reality.
Following a clear continuum from my earlier works, this work draws on numerous sources varying from early-music (or, neo-baroque) to avant-garde and from Maqamat (Arabic music modal system) to serialism, and so, I believe polystylism might be the best term to describe the “style” of this work. The (ca.) 20 minutes’ duration concerto is in three movements. Each movement contains several sections (musical images). These sections portray encounters, pictures, textures and fascinating confluences of varying cultures and styles - the genre spectrum spans and marries new music with middle-eastern and Jewish inflected styles, and incorporates pristine precise playing with unfettered and freely-roaming musicianship. The concerto’s prelude and epilogue - a prayer-like music in C minor - are of compassion and pity.
Concerto for Piano and Strings was composed especially and within consideration of the virtuosity and music-understanding of pianist/composer Michael Kieran Harvey. I would like to thank Michael for the inspiration and musicianship. Also many thanks to Graeme Jennings and Divertimenti string ensemble for their dedication and for giving “life” to my music.
The work has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body