Luciano Williamson - Piano Concerto (2018) [perf. Connor Fogel]
Piano Concerto (2018) for piano and chamber orchestra Performed by Connor Fogel during Atmospheres 2018 Festival, in the Dora Stoutzker Hall, RWCMD 06/05/18, conducted by the composer
“I first met Connor Fogel in 2014, at the start of my studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. During the four year course Connor has played a great deal of my music, including the premiere performance of my 5 Minute Pieces (2015). With his continued friendship supporting me through my time in Cardiff, I could think of no other way I would want to end my undergraduate degree than by writing a concerto for him.
During my studies at RWCMD I have been exposed to a huge amount of new music and learned a great deal about composition, aesthetics and musical philosophy. As a result, the interests and goals I had when I began have been altered significantly, as has my musical voice. This is certainly no bad thing, but I have occasionally found myself conflicted by the opposing ideals of my past and present.
Piano Concerto is my attempt at resolving this issue. 16 contiguous variations gave me a framework within which I could musically release everything I had accumulated while studying at the college, the idea being to allow myself to start afresh, retaining what I had learned but removing the baggage of ideals modified by four years of trying to maintain them in the face of an evolving aesthetic. I suppose, in a way, they are variations on an experience, rather than on a discreet singular musical idea, and the concerto itself is a Ragnarok, a Great Flood, a phoenix regenerating with apocalyptic destruction.
The first fourteen variations are intended to be as different and contrasting as possible. Each one filters an idea from the previous (be it harmonic, thematic or aesthetic) through a new lens, exploring every technique I’ve learned as if to use them up. Unlike traditional theme and variation structure, returning every few bars to an initial idea, the piece takes on a more organic quality as it evolves naturally through ideas as they appear chronologically, offering a more obvious linear progression through the drastically different sections. Once every idea is presented a fifteenth variation squeezes them together, two at a time interrupted by seven fanfares, a final hellish scream as they are burned in metaphorical fire. When all trace of my old music is thoroughly destroyed and irrecoverable a new, innocent, honest musical idea presents itself, freed from the previous restraints, without connotation or implication, just bare, pure music, a new beginning.”
Flute/Alto/Pic: Esther Robinson
Oboe: Aimee Bilsborrow
Clarinet in Bb/Eb/Bass: Eleanor Hall
Bassoon: Mollie Stallard
Horn: Vikki Scanlon
Trumpet: Josh Barber
Trombone: Nick MacDonald
Percussion: Robbie Wills
Violin I: George Taylor
Violin II: Matthew Waters
Viola: Mike Cliburn
Cello: Bryony Rawstron
Bass: Tim Edwards
Solo piano: Connor Fogel
Conductor: Luciano Williamson