Piano Concerto
Pour piano et orchestre

Alan Belkin
Alan Belkin
Composition Date: 1994
Revision Date: 2012
Duration: 00:16:00
Genre: Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Orchestra with Soloist, Piano


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 2 x Flute
  • 2 x Oboe
  • 2 x Clarinet
  • 2 x Bassoon
  • 4 x Horn
  • 3 x Trumpet
  • 3 x Trombone
  • 1 x Tuba
  • 1 x Timpani
  • 1 x Percussion
  • 1 x Piano
  • 1 x Unspecified bowed strings
Instrumentation Set Number 2:
  • 1 x Piano
  • 1 x Full orchestra
Programme Note:
The piano concerto has a special place in my development as a composer. My first two sustained compositions were both essays in the genre: I was about eleven or twelve years old. The motivation for these juvenilia is not hard to discern: the piano was the first instrument I learned, and remains, musically, “home” for me still today.
The present work went through various transformations before reaching its final form. Many of the ideas in it were first part of a major electroacoustic piece I undertook, lasting about an hour, intended for live performance. Apart from various formal defects, this work suffered from the one common to most live electroacoustic works, namely, the instruments it was written for are very soon no longer current. Refashioning the work for piano and orchestra allowed me to improve the form and to overcome this problem.
Like any concerto, a piano concerto requires, at a minimum, making the relationship between soloist and orchestra a critical feature of its construction. The traditional virtuoso treatment of the soloist finds much of its explanation in this requirement. Although, being large and polyphonic, the piano has an easier time confronting an orchestra than, say, the cello, the basic inequality of forces remains, and needs, at times, to be camouflaged. The time-honoured way of doing this is by having the soloist and the orchestra declaim at each other in dramatic alternation: The soloist thus gives the impression of being equal in power with the ensemble. But of course confrontation is not the only mode of
interaction. In my concerto, the soloist sometimes declares its independence forcefully from the orchestra, but at other moments is content to murmur in sympathy, to discuss a given idea in civilized give and take, to sing out, accompanied by the orchestra, and so forth.
In one continuous movement, the piece nonetheless has a slow section in the middle, followed by a lively and propulsive toccata-like idea. One interlude I particularly like is the one where the piccolo sings, lonely on high, accompanied by the piano, also in its upper register, before the two descend
back into more terrestrial range and resume the toccata idea.


  • Call Number:
  • MI 1361 B432pi 2012
  • Genre:
  • Orchestra / Large Ensembles, Orchestra with Soloist, Piano
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • December 12, 2014
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (vi, 42 p.) ;
    48 Pages
    Height: 43 cm
    Width: 28 cm
  • Additional Information:
  • Pour piano et orchestre: 2222, 4331, percussion (glock, xylo, mar, sus cym, timb) cordes.
    En 1 mouvement.
    Oeuvre composée en 1994 et révisée en 2006 et 2012. Cette copie est la version de 2012.
    Une réduction pour deux pianos est disponible à des fins de répétition seulement.
    Oeuvre déposée au CMC Québec.
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Piano Concerto Pour piano et orchestreFor information about this piece, please contact atelier@centremusique.ca--
Copies of this work are available for loan from: Montréal, Calgary, Vancouver