John B Hedges

composer & musician

Concerto for Piano & Percussion (1999, rev.2005) for solo piano & five percussionists

Duration: 19'

Program Notes:

Concerto for Piano & Percussion is a traditional piano concerto cast in three movements with an orchestra of five percussionists replacing the traditional role of the orchestra. Originally written in 1999 while I was at the Curtis Institute the piece was performed by pianist Shannon Hesse and the Curtis Percussion Ensemble. The work centers on a simple rhythm which is first stated in the opening by the bass drums echoing each other. That rhythm is continually and obsessively worked out through the work in the form of a possession. The first movement is a kind of invocation where the material is called out, almost ritually. The second lyrical movement is a seduction. The material is transformed into a lyrical, impromptu backed by timpani and shimmering bells. The second movement transitions directly into the noisy, dancing third movement conceived as a kind of exorcism where the material is literally beaten out of you. The work was revised in 2005 primarily to add more solo piano passages rendering the piece more of a concerto than in its first incarnation.