Pianoforte Concerto in C Minor

Pianoforte Concerto in C Minor
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Price: $19.95
Product ID : SY901
Weight: 0.45 lbs
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58 pages, 8.5" x 11", coil bound

Healey Willan has been praised as one of the more prolific composers of the twentieth century, with over 800 works to his credit. He is best known for his sacred choral compositions, which make up over half of his total output. The remaining works include opera, symphony, band, chamber works, including the underappreciated Pianoforte Concerto in C Minor, HWC 76.

Written in 1944, the concerto exhibits a Wagnerian harmonic language in a continuous formal structure recalling that of Liszt, with bravura piano writing inspired by Rachmaninov and rich string textures reminiscent of his British heritage. A radio premiere in August 1944 featured pianist Agnes Butcher, to whom the concerto was dedicated, with the CBC Orchestra in Montréal, conducted by Jean-Marie Beaudet. After a European premiere in 1946, several performances followed through the years, mostly in Canada. The popularity of the work began to fade, however, as new music trends dominated the musical landscape of the last half of the century.

An exhaustive search of available resources yielded few recorded performances, four of which are available through the Canadian Music Centre.  A commercial recording of the concerto has been produced, but that CD is no longer available for purchase (although a recent download for purchase site has been identified).  A full score of the concerto is available, but to our knowledge, the edition that follows is the only piano reduction of the orchestral score available at this time.  It is our hope that the reduction will introduce this dramatic work to a wider musical audience, providing a vehicle for pianists to study and perform one of the great modern additions to the piano concerto repertoire…“And time remembered is grief forgotten” (quoted in the manuscript of the revised concerto, 21 Feb, 1949)

The authors wish to thank the Estate of Healey Willan (Rev. Scott A. Haynes, SJC, Trustee) for its support and permission to produce the reduction. We also wish to thank Furman University for its financial support of the project through the Furman Advantage Research Fellowship Program. Furman University is a private, independent liberal arts college located in Greenville, South Carolina.

Derek Parsons & Caroline Owen
October, 2016

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