Toccata for piano solo

Pott, Francis ORCID: (2016) Toccata for piano solo. [Composition]

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A solo recital work lasting approximately 6'30". This piece was First Prizewinner in the piano solo section of the S.S.Prokofiev 2nd International Composition Competition, Moscow, March 1997. The adjudication panel was chaired by the distinguished Russian composer-pianist Rodion Schchedrin.

The following programme note appears in the published score:

'A fragment or two of this piece languished in various cupboards and drawers from 1986 until 1996, when the kindly interest of its eventual dedicatee, Marc-André Hamelin, and the announcement of a section for short piano solo works in the 1997 Prokofiev Composing Competition in Moscow conspired jointly to get the job finally done. The music seeks to offer pyrotechnical interest worthy of such a formidable virtuoso while still achieving a degree of substance and musical argument. The American pianist Frederic Chiu gave the Toccata its British première at the 1999 Pianoworks Festival in London. It was taken up in 2003 by the Canada-based Azerbaijani virtuoso Alexander Tselyakov, who presented it at the Wigmore Hall and on BBC Radio Three in that year before performing it on tour across Canada and the USA, and who recorded it on his own CD label, Golomb Recordings (in association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). It has been performed with no less distinction by the fine British pianist Julian Hellaby.
The Prokofiev connection prompted a number of allusions: for example, Prokofiev's own Toccata, opus 11, with its flattened seventh in early and menacing opposition to a dogged tonic pedal, finds a harmonic echo as the present work gets rhythmically into its stride (a semitone lower). There follow a number of oblique references to the outer movements of Prokofiev's Seventh Sonata and the finale of his Eighth. A further homage, found in what develops as a fugato secondary episode, is to the opening of the Lesghinka from Liapunov's arresting youthful set of Etudes d'Execution Transcendante, coincidentally also opus 11, although its melodic shape is a good deal altered. A manic cadenza-like passage near the end of the Toccata salutes aspects of Hamelin's own astounding recorded cadenza to Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2. Despite this, the piece as a whole is to be seen as ominously insistent or enigmatic rather than (until the home straight) simply headlong. It seeks to vindicate its title by exploring several contrasting means of touch, rather than to hammer away with diminishing returns at only one.'

The work was previously published by Fand Music Press, but has been withdrawn and now republished by Composers Edition with a marginally revised ending.

© Francis Pott, 2014.

Item Type: Composition
Keywords: Piano, virtuoso, solo, recital, toccata
Subjects: Arts
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Francis POTT
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2016 19:15
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 07:07

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