A flashy exchange between pianists and orchestra in a concertato style. Introduction of the first theme is spirited and rhythmically alive while the ensuing second theme is quite lyrical. Jazz-like episodes punctuate different sections of this work.
Genre: Solo Piano 4-Hands with Orchestra | # of Players: Standard + 2
Level: 5 | Duration: 9:30
Solo Piano Primo
Solo Piano Secondo
A Clarinet 1/2
F Horn 1/2
F Horn 3/4
C Trumpet 1–3
Percussion 1 (xylophone, bells, large suspended cymbal, tam-tam)
Percussion 2 (large suspended cymbal, drum set, vibraphone)
Percussion 3 (brake drums, bass drum, tom-toms, bongos, slap stick, marimba)
Interplay for Piano Four Hands and Orchestra was written with the intent of increasing the repertoire for the unique combination of piano four hands and orchestra. The motivation for the creation of this work came as the result of an invitation to become part of the Master Musicians Collective orchestral recording project in 1994. Having written extensively for winds and percussion, I was intrigued by the thought of writing my first orchestra work. After committing to the project, my decision to use the piano as a solo instrument with the orchestra came from the inspiration of Central Michigan University duo pianists Ruth Neville and Daniel Koppelman, who comprise duo rudenako.
Interplay is cast in one movement in a rather free sonata design with part of the development section being in a slow tempo and in a quasi-rhapsodic style. As the title implies, the work is an exchange or "interplay" between the pianists and the orchestra in a flashy, concertato style. The work begins in a fast tempo with the piano primo playing a six-note ostinato pattern which is the foundation of all thematic and motivic material found in the work. Accompanying the piano are strongly accented pitch-dense chords in the orchestra. This culminates with a cadenza-like passage by both pianists that is followed by the first theme. The first theme is spirited and rhythmically alive and is based on the opening ostinato. A short episode follows after which there is a return of the first theme. In direct contrast to the first theme, the ensuing second theme is lyrical and based on the first three notes of the six-note ostinato and is presented by piano primo accompanied by harp-like passages in the piano secondo. A codetta in the low brass closes the exposition.
The development begins with a jazz-like episode in both piano parts complete with a "walking" contra bass and drum set line. A short piano cadenza bridges to another episode, somewhat similar to the first, but more strident and intense and accompanied by bongos, toms, and bass drum. This segues into an ostinato pattern above which remnants of the first theme return in the horns and trumpets, bring the fast section to a dramatic conclusion.
A slow and mysterious section follows. Piano primo dominates in this section, beginning with quick figurations based on motivic material accompanied by rolled marimba chords and "swishing" vibraphone. This develops into a presentation of first theme material in augmentation accompanied by a pandiatonic ostinato in the piano primo and cascading woodwinds. A brass fanfare announces a cadenza passage by the primo piano and secondo which accelerates, but quickly returns to the slow tempo with short solo passages by the oboe, flute, and clarinet. A retransition by piano primo and secondo at tempo primo follows, reminiscent of the jazz episode at the development's beginning. The return of the first theme is literal but is now followed by a new bridge which links to the second theme, now played by the violins. An extended coda brings the work to a rousing close.