Film and Tv
Revised 2013. Formerly known as 'Rapids.'
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Soloist(s) and Orchestra
This piano concerto comes in two parts:
, written in 2013, and
, in 1996.
was commissioned by the University of Wisconsin to help celebrate their 100th Anniversary. That section, which lasts about thirteen minutes, is designed to be almost entirely fast. Except for one short passage for two flutes and a violin, the notes are moving rapidly either in soft or loud passages particularly in the piano part which is an instrument that has that kind of ability for speed. There is also a sense of water "rapids" in how the notes "cascade" over and around each other. This section is dedicated to pianist Ursula Oppens who premiered it.
Last year, I added
as an introduction to
because I felt that the addition of a section at slow speed would contextually enhance the excitement of the fast paced
. This slow section, which lasts about six minutes, is the complete opposite of the second section on every level a very "held" and mostly quiet space for meditation with a possible image of sitting in a boat on a beautiful day with a clear sky on a lake that is completely still.
This movement is dedicated to my friend and colleague Blair McMillen, who will record the whole concerto
with the Albany Symphony led by David Alan Miller after giving its premiere performances in March 2014.
01 MAR 2014
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, NY
Blair McMillen; David Alan Miller, conductor
2 March - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, NY
01 MAY 2011
Annandale On Hudson, NY
Leon Botstein, conductor
5 May - Annandale On Hudson, NY
27 SEP 2008
Made in America
University of Houston
Franz Anton Krager, conductor
25 FEB 1999
New Orleans, LA
Ursula Oppens, piano; Uriel Segal, conductor
27 February - New Orleans, LA
14 NOV 1998
San Francisco, CA
Angela Chang, piano; Apo Hsu, conductor
Tower’s music has gotten louder and gnarlier over the years, so the new stuff, “Still,” was a surprise. Over a slow, soft pulse from the strings, pianist Blair McMillen played fluid, cascading lines. While never static, the writing was gentle and restrained, tender even. Immediately came the launch of “Rapids,” which was written in 1996. The water image was appropriate for the music’s bumpy and unpredictable course. Despite their difference in age and character, the two movements were cohesive and very satisfying.
Joseph Dalton, Times Union,3/1/2014
The third piece was
, composed by Joan Tower, professor of music at Bard, in response to a request by Ursula Oppens for a technically challenging piece. The pianist was another undergraduate Shun-Yang Lee, who played with great virtuosity. The excellent program notes written by another undergraduate, David Bloom claim the intense forward motion of the piece comes from the soloist. But in this case the unstoppable beat that powers the piece came from Botstein. The piece was short, powerful, and fun.
David Griesinger, The Boston Musical Intelligencer,5/6/2011
Ursula Oppens, piano soloist, was a powerhouse, bringing explosive sound to this colorful and very dramatic work… Cascading sound, rippling up the piano and down the strings, flew off into the other sections with musical material that grabbed this listener’s ear and didn’t let go. The piece was driven as much by linear movement as by the powerful rhythmic figures.
Howard Vogel, Woodstock Times,9/11/1997
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