April 11, 2011

John Corigliano's Piano Concerto

Listening to a recent live recording of Corigliano's Piano Concerto (brilliantly played by John Lee with the Cleveland Inst of Music Orchestra under Sasha Makila), it took me only a few minutes to guess the "compositional" recipe behind this piece:

Start with one cup of Prokofiev (for the motoric piano part), add two table spoons of Copland (for a few pseudo-folksy themes), sprinkle with some Stravinskian rhythmic angularity (when you run out of whatever little you had to say thematically and harmonically), and then screw-up a few intervals here and there to create just a little bit of dissonance.
    Of course, the final product will have not one ounce of originality, but we can try to mask that by writing a politically and ideologically tailored program to explain the "inner meaning" of the work - say, as "A concerned artist's response to global warming".
    Alas, many concertgoers do not read programs, so a politically and ideologically appropriate short dedication to go with the work's title - say, "In Memory of the Victims of Nagasaki" -  will add some gravitas, and hopefully also will mask the stale musical odor.  (But never a dedication to the memory of those hundreds of thousands of American boys whose corpses littered the Pacific Rim islands.  That would smack of glorifying American Imperialism!  Nor will we ever dedicate any work to the memory of those many millions of innocent people murdered by the communist regimes - because Gergiev and Lang Lang will never touch a work with this kind of dedication.)

 So get busy with putting ink on paper, or the competition (Danielpour and Higdon) will get their "product" to the Pulitzer committee before you do!


Fabioromano said...

Bentornato Boom!

It's good to have you back here among us. And, of course, thanx for this precious (and unknown to me) concerto. All the best


Squirrel said...


I thoroughly enjoyed your description of the non-music written by Corigliano. Brilliant and pithy! I couldn't agree more.