About the Concerto
This is a neoclassical work– contemporary in its musical language, but
classical in its structure. The first movement is in traditional
sonata-allegro form with an exposition where the main themes are laid out
twice by piano and orchestra, a development section where in this case the
humble accompaniment figure (not a main theme which is the norm) is
developed, building to a climax before returning to the main themes. As in
most concerti, a piano cadenza closes the recapitulation, followed by a quiet
The main theme of the second movement is a song without words. The piano
opens the contrasting middle section with a jazzy cross-rhythm which
underlies a heavily ornamented theme stated by the oboe. The piano then plays
two variations on this theme interrupted by an orchestral interlude. A
cadenza leads to the return of the main theme.
The third movement is in concerto-rondo form, which is similar to the
sonata-allegro form of the first movement. Instead of a development section
however, there is a sassy march which is loosely derived from the second
Because of the abundance of quartal harmonies (chords built by stacking fourths,
not the usual thirds), much juxtaposed play between major and minor,
and perky cross-rhythms, the work has jazzy flavor. However jazz
and blues cliches were carefully avoided, the aim being to create
a language and style unique to the piece.
- John Lampkin
I am proud to champion the music of John Lampkin. His compositions
are at once melodic, urbane, often witty and insouciant, and full
rhythmic and harmonic color. Eschewing the many contemporary emotionally
sterile techniques, he is mindful of the implications of the natural
hamronic series, and produces work that is unabashedly and comfortingly
tonal. His Piano Concerto, with its more-or-less conventional structure
is a "Kabalevsky Meets Gershwin, courtesy of Lampkin"
scenario. I had the honor and pleasure of performing the NJ premiere,
and it was a tremendous hit with both the musicians and the audience.
This is worthy writing and it WILL make its mark.
Music Director of the Manchester Music Festival
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