Piano Concerto #1: “The Russian”


An Award Winning Work

This is the cover of the CD “Masterworks of the New Era, Vol. 13” where the Piano Concerto #1 was first featured . I received a letter telling me that the work had been selected for recording and then Robert Ian Winstin conducted the Kiev Philharmonic with Dmitri Tavanets at the piano in 2006 to make this work come to life for the first time. The nickname “The Russian” comes both from the fact that it was recorded in Kiev as well as the opinion of a few colleagues who told me it sounded Russian.




Some history: The pieces in the CD “Almost Songs” were the second and third major works I ever wrote. The first work was a set of five piano studies that I have played in concert, but not recorded. After I finished those pieces, in 1995, I decided I wanted to write a piece for piano and orchestra for myself. I used two basic principles to write the piece: The first one was to write  three themes of a different character and then blend them into one piece in an expanded sonata form that blended  three movements into one.

The other was to make the melodies or their variations constitute the majority of the piece. I thought of myself when I was 10 years old and how I enjoyed listening to the main themes of a work but no so much to the development or, worse, to long transitions. I set out to write a piece with recognizable melodies in a modern tonal idiom.

I wrote a two piano version in 1996, but left the orchestration until later to acquire more experience writing music for other instruments. I did write many other works, which include a string quartet and a trio for flute, oboe and clarinet before coming back and tackling the orchestration in 2005. I decided to use an orchestral idiom which is more dense than usual, with little melodies and patterns inside the orchestral texture to give it a more dissonant sound but, hopefully, more depth and richness which can be explored with time.

The ERM Media CD was released in Dec 2008. Here are two excerpts from the piece:

Hear excerpt 1

Hear excerpt 2

In 2014, after recording my Piano Concerto #2 in Bratislava, Corsaire Records issued a CD with both piano concertos called “Memories of my Childhood“. You can check it out in the recordings section of this site.