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Excerpt from the preface of the Repertoire Explorer Miniature Score:
Martin’s first work for instrumental soloist and orchestra is his Piano Concerto No. 1. Martin composed it in 1933-34. Soloist at its premiere on 22 January 1936 in Geneva was Walter Gieseking, who was accompanied by Ernest Ansermet and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.
Bernhard Billeter reports the following in his monograph Frank Martin. Ein Außenseiter der neuen Musik (Frauenfeld, 1970): “The most important composition of the period in which Frank Martin assimilated the twelve-tone technique is without doubt the Piano Concerto. […] The twelve-tone elements and the other themes exist side by side, in part unconnected with each other. Thus one cannot reckon the work in terms of its technique among those of Martin’s mature style. Nonetheless it is a masterpiece, which has unjustly lapsed into obscurity. At the premiere Walter Gieseking played the solo part. He was certainly the extreme opposite of an interpreter such as Dinu Lipatti, who occupied himself with a composition for years before he trusted himself to perform it in public. Gieseking learned the Concerto in an unbelievably brief time--just a few days--and played it very well. However, according to Martin, he understood nothing of the music. After the performance Gieseking told him that he found it unpleasant to have to play so many wrong notes.”
Translation: Stephen Luttmann
For the Repertoire Explorer Miniature Score please contact Musikproduktion Jürgen Höflich.