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2019/08/26

Work of the Week – Ryan Wigglesworth: Piano Concerto

Ryan Wigglesworth will make no fewer than three appearances as a conductor at this year’s BBC Proms, including on 28 August 2019 when he will direct the world premiere of his Piano Concerto with Marc-André Hamelin and Britten Sinfonia. The new work is the result of a joint commission between BBC Radio 3 and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

From the chorale figures of its opening arioso, to the contrapuntal scherzo and trio and the fugal finale, Wigglesworth’s Piano Concerto is characterised by its incorporation of Classical form and stylistic elements into his own contemporary idiom.

The solo piano part, neither bravura nor particularly virtuosic, often displays a poetic, intimate character. The work’s four movements are studies in character. The first, songlike; the second, a fast scherzo with a gentler central trio; the third, a nocturne based on a folk melody; and finally, a lively contrapuntal Gigue. – Ryan Wigglesworth

The lightly scored Notturno is one of the work’s more intimate moments. The orchestra is reduced to just strings and harp, accompanying the soloist in a small set of variations based on a Polish folk song Wigglesworth first heard around a campfire. His personal association of the melody with night is rendered in the dream-like and occasionally nightmarish quality of this movement.

Ryan Wigglesworth: Piano Concerto – Incorporation of classical form in a contemporary idiom

Audiences will be able to hear Wiggleworth’s Piano Concerto in performances around the world in coming seasons, including on 27, 28 and 29 February 2020 with Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

 

 

Photo: Benjamin Ealovega