- Date & Time
Monday, September 26, 2022 7:20pm to 8:40pm
Derek Parsons, Professor of Piano at Furman University, will present a lecture recital on the lesser-known Healey Willan Piano Concerto with Lauren Sarkela, current UF graduate piano student on the second piano.
About the work:
Healey Willan has been praised as one of the more prolific composers of the 20th 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 pieces, and this very underappreciated Concerto for Piano and Orchestra 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 Montreal, 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. Commercial recordings of the concerto have been produced, but scarcely available at this time [there is currently one YouTube performance of the complete concerto].
A full score of the concerto is available, but at the time of publication of the reduction, it was the only one available. It is the performer’s hope that the published 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)
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