Piano Concerto was commissioned by Will Dutta (Chimera Productions) in 2013 with support from the PRS for Music Foundation and Arts Council England.
The first performance of Max de Wardener’s Piano Concerto was given on 5th September at Blank Canvas at Village Underground (UK) by the Heritage Orchestra featuring Will Dutta (piano) and Manuel Poletti (electronics realisations), conducted by Tom Trapp.
In November 2015, Will Dutta and Matthew Yee-King performed with Orquesta Sinfonica Juvenil de Caracas at Simon Bolivar Hall, Caracas (VE), conducted by Joshua Dos Santos, in partnership with British Council and Fundamusical (commonly known as el sistema). The piece was met with critical acclaim by a one thousand-strong audience.
Piano Concerto is divided into 3 movements:
1) Toccata Most of the musical material is an abstraction of rules and disciplines of norot – a style of melodic elaboration played on the mounted gongs called the reyong in Balinese Gamelan music. The piano plays almost continuously, evoking a sense of restless joy.
2) Nocturne This subdued, quiet movement features high register piano notes, some of which have been detuned to twist the inherent ‘sweetness’ of this part of the piano range. The piano and orchestra are fed through resonant comb filters to enhance the sense of space and stillness.
3) Morendo An Italian word for dying often used in music notation. Much of the music has decaying sounds, often falling in pitch. The movement features a small introspective piano cadenza before the electronics and the orchestra takes things to their natural conclusion.