Zygmunt Krauze: Konzert

  • for piano and orchestra
  • 0 0 0 0 - 3 2 1 0 - acc(2), alto sax, t.sax, bar.sax, e.guit(2) - vln(20), vla(8), vc(8), cb(4)
  • Duration: 20’
  • Soloists:
  • Instrumentation details:
    0 0 0 alto-, tenor-, baritone sax. 0 - 3 2 1 0 - 2 accordions, 2 electric guitars - 20 vln., 8 vla., 8 vc., 4 cb.
  • Composer: Zygmunt Krauze

Work introduction

The Piano Concerto is written in one movement, the time of performance is about 20 minutes. The orchestra part excludes the percussion instruments and most of the wood and brass instruments. It does, however, have two accordions, two electric guitars and three saxophones.

The solo part plays the dominant role in the Piano Concerto. All the new elements that appear in the course of the composition’s evolution are initiated by the piano. The solo part continues from the beginning to the end without any interruptions. Consequently, the orchestra performs the role of an accompaniment or plays with the solo instrument.

The piano solo part is written without metrical divisions. Yet a precise rhythmic notation keeps it in synchrony with the orchestra part – written in the 4/4 meter. The absence of metrical division was dictated by concern for the soloist. The pianist is able to interpret the music written in this mode with greater expression and in his own way, particularly as the character of the music established by the cadences and improvisations with frequent use of the rubato.

The solo part is fairly difficult, but the very act of playing gives the pianist a certain physical pleasure. In terms of pure pianistic motion, however, I felt that it should be totally subordinated to the compelling evolution of the music. Repetition of one or more tones is the most frequently used technique. The notation in the piano part may recall the works written for Hungarian cymbals.

While writing the Piano Concerto, I tried not to think of other music, of the music written now and of music written in the past. I even tried to forget or to get away from my own earlier compositions. Although I always have this feeling and this desire to get away from the surrounding music when working on a new composition, this time that feeling was especially strong. In my earlier compositions, I discarded the principle of a unistic form, giving instead a form which, though made up of contrasts and conflicts, was nevertheless composed of a series of different elements. These elements-segments arranged themselves in a series which may be most simply put as A + B + A1 + C + A2 + D.

I also discarded the folk motif, both as a quote or in the different less legible forms.

Upon the completion of the Piano Concerto and upon its first public performance, it turned out that it was more closely related to my earlier works than I had thought when I was working on it. There is a visible similarity in the orchestra part with Piece for Orchestra No 1 (1969), String Quartet No 2 (1970), Piece for Orchestra No 2 (1970) and Aus aller Welt stammende (1973). The solo part has elements of my other piano compositions: Five Unistic Compositions (1963), Falling water (1971 – 1973), and even with Stone Music (1972), a work which is performed on the piano strings. One of the significant similarities between these piano pieces and the Piano Concerto is the presence of two central tones A and C sharp which are the axis of the works mentioned above. It also appeared that the elements of folk music, though subcutaneous, are nevertheless clearly sensed in the rhythmic arrangements and the melodic line.

In more literary terms, I may say that the first concern while working on the Piano Concerto was that this music should be gay and pure. I also wanted the pianist to have the orchestra in the background, to cast the orchestra in the role it had played in the instrumental concertos of the early Romantic period.

I had said in an interview one time, “The most important thing for a composer is also most difficult to attain. Independence, courage and sincerity. Yet these traits are rarely fully revealed. Composers observe and control each other. They walk in one rank…”

These thoughts helped me find a more personal note for my music while I was working on the Piano Concerto.

Zygmunt Krauze


World première

Donaueschingen (DE)
Ernest Bour
Main soloists:
Zygmunt Krauze, pno

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