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The farce we must all play : concerto for piano and orchestra

by David Slater (2016)

farce we must all play


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The farce we must all play : concerto for piano and orchestra / David Slater.

Library shelf no. 784.262186/SLA 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

This concerto takes its title from a text by the Argentinian poet Alejandra Pizarnik, who suffered from depression and eventually took her life at age 36. In two larger outer movements with a brief Intermezzo between, it explores the heights and depths which form the day to day experience of a sufferer of depression.

The musical material for the whole concerto is almost entirely derived from the intervallic structure of the opening motif. The first movement is episodic, swinging between dark cadenzas and sweeping romantic passages and concluding with a disturbing passage for the soloist which merges seamlessly into the Intermezzo. Here the music marks time with the soloist's almost continuous quavers in octave leaps. Occasionally the piano interrupts its own line, but essentially little happens, though a gradual movement towards something yet to come is perceptible.The third movement, Scherzo and Chorale, arrives quietly at first but then with increasing energy and excitement. The central section begins with the pianist accompanying a solo oboe whose melody grows into full orchestra. From this more sombre music the scherzo re-emerges, finally combined with a brighter version of the chorale. The cadenza in this movement is the only one which is joyous, the others being dark in character. Once again there is a bleak passage from the soloist, which leads into a grand coda.

Work Details

Year: 2016

Instrumentation: 2 flutes (2nd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, bass trombone (or tuba), timpani, percussion (4 players), piano solo, strings.

Duration: 19 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — The solo part is of advanced difficulty. The orchestral parts are designed to be performed by a good youth or community orchestra

Dedication note: Dedicated to Anthony Baldwin

Commission note: Commissioned by Anthony Baldwin.

The work is composed for Mental Health Awareness Week to draw attention to the widespread suffering caused by depression


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