Concerto in C for Piano and Orchestra - (2017)
for Daniel Barenboim
fortunate Berliner's twist of fate has allowed me to observe both
performances and rehearsals (normally not open to the public) as conducted and played by Daniel Barenboim.
This is a small appreciation for a great artist and explains the dedication
motives on which this work is based a drawn from musical cryptograms, as one
finds in part in the
Concerto in D flat for Piano and Chamber Orchestra
The three here represent in a series of notes the composers, Schoenberg,
Shostakovich and Stravinsky, the first two cryptograms having been used
before, and the last generated through another method.
[ 1 ]
work opens with solo piano, parallel triads in first inversion referring to
the Schoenberg cipher. The resultant harmonic complexities blur together
into a Klang for this section. These gestures are then taken up in
orchestra restates the theme, and then breaks into a rhythmic dance-like
section in the overall 3/2 notation also citing "Schoenberg", the first two beats tango-like with the
last a triplet to break the dance rhythm.
Among the episodes as the first kernel plays itself out, a quiet moment of
clustered string harmonies is decorated with arpeggios of many notes.
restatement of the fist section's themes plays out, and is interrupted by
the square, forceful statement of the second cryptogram. Less developed than
the first, the orchestra repeats with marcato. The citation of the
next cryptogram in noted in the full score.
break from the from the orchestra textures is made, as the solo piano takes
center stage elaborating on the "Shostakovich" four-note kernel across many
third section cites "Stravinsky" in its cryptogram as noted in the score, as
the orchestra's many contrapuntal lines and notated embellishments in the
piano refer lightly to a neo-Baroque foreground texture.
work ends as the piano and orchestra unite in a recapitulation of the first
section's dance-like strut alongside references to the following sections as
pages, circa 19'00" - an MP3 emulation of the work is here:
and parts are available as a free PDF download, though any major
commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior
arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this score.
C for Piano and Chamber Orchestra
Full score - A4 edition
[ 1 ] The three cryptograms in
order of use are:
Of such, one reads: "A musical cryptogram is a
cryptogrammatic sequence of musical notes, a sequence which can
be taken to refer to an extra-musical text by some 'logical'
relationship, usually between note names and letters." Also
"[A], E♭, C, B♮, B♭, E(♮), G (= [A], S, C, H, B, E, G) for
Arnold Schoenberg (A. Schönberg), set 6-Z44," D," E♭, C, B
(= D, S, C, H) for Dmitri Shostakovich (D. Schostakowitsch)"
(from "Musical Cryptogram," Wikipedia article, n. d. The
last is a simple substitution done in Java script, and not
referring to tradition uses for such cryptograms, via an
online generator created by
Mike Su at CodePen
In other works, I have used other musical cryptograms which more
closely align with that "naming" tradition as can be seen even
to a friend and colleague.
Graphics of the associated cryptograms for this work "title-in-picture" each section as
they appear in a first statement.
In addition to cryptograms which have generated other works,
sometimes a theme thought about after attending a performance of
rehearsal sparks musical thought. As regards both the dedicatee
but also composers, other such works notably for organ include a
Little Fugue on the Scala enigmatica
after a rehearsal of Verdi's Ave Maria (from the Quattro Pezzi Sacri)
at Berlin's Philharmonie, a
Contrapunctus on a Theme of Wagner
after a 2015 performance of Die Meistersinger at the Staatsoper thinking on the quote from the third act, as well as
Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Webern
after a 2012 performance of Webern's Passacaglia by the
Staatskapelle under Barenboim.