Sunday, July 15, 2007

Because you never have a second chance...

I've decided to start a weekly (maybe more) feature called First Impressions in New Listening (FINL*).

Ideally, every day I'd like to hear a piece of music I've never heard before. At the present time, that is probably not practical.

The music can be recently composed, relatively "new," or an older piece with which I'm unfamiliar. I'm going to write down my first impressions. Keep in mind they are exactly that--FIRST impressions, based on a single hearing, without a score. My commentary will reflect that which "jumps" out at me (if anything).

If you are familiar with the piece, feel free to leave your own impressions (first or otherwise) in the comments.

This week, we start off with something relatively local:

Pozzi Escot, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra or Chamber Orchestra (1982)
Peformers: New England Conservatory Chamber Orchestra, cond. Tamara Brooks, with Randall Hodgkinson, piano.

More of a "concerto" in the sense of Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, this mini-concerto (just under six minutes) of three movements could be a single movement.
The opening movement is the yin to the yang of the closing movement. The first movement draws out a motive in the trumpet, like musical taffy. The final movement takes a related motive, but squeezes it and condenses it in a rush to the finish. The piano makes rather abrupt statements, but at no time is there ever a sense that there is one soloist.
These outer movements flank an inner movement of a more obligatory inward nature...atmospheric strings (recalling Ligeti) punctuated by the piano. This slower middle movement is most revealing of the concerto conception.

I enjoyed this piece and will listen to it several times. The texture is dense, so there is much to be unearthed.
*The irony of the acronym is unintentional.

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Mostly Musicology, Teaching, and a bit of Miscellanea