Two-Piano Reduction

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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 winding down.

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 theme.

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.

Ron Levy
Concert Artist
Music Director of the Manchester Music Festival

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