NIKOS SKALKOTTAS (1904-1949): Piano Concerto No. 3, AK 18.
Catalogue Number: 01V050
Label: Paladino Music
Reference: pmr 0106
Description: The 3rd Piano Concerto is one of Skalkottas' most remarkable and compelling scores, and admirers of this most uncompromising of composers - of whom Hugh MacDiarmid's words: "It will be ever increasingly necessary to find / In the interests of all mankind / Men capable of rejecting all that all other men / Think, as a stone remains Essential to the world, inseparable from it, / And rejects all other life yet./ Great work cannot be combined with surrender to the crowd." apply as aptly as they did to his actual subject, Sorabji - will want this version of the piece, as none of the three recordings so far issued, including this one, tells the whole story. The huge, three-movement piece was written around 1939. The composer’s choice of a perfectly balanced, economical wind ensemble aids the extraordinary clarity of the score, which weaves a dense polyphonic web throughout, within the formidable piano part (which has scarcely a bar's rest for the duration of the piece) and between it and the equally intricate ensemble part. When the work was first performed, thirty years after it was written, the solo part was divided between different pianists for each movement, so refractory was it deemed to be. The concerto is freely dodecaphonic, in the sense that rows and their derivatives are used thematically, but it is never dogmatically serial, and Skalkottas' rich and inventive harmony is a delight throughout. The piece makes diligent use of sonata form (in the outer movements), and this, the other traditional formal devices used, and the exemplary clarity of its argument renders what might be assumed to be a thorny, atonal piece of ‘difficult listening' as a compelling musical drama with an almost neo-classical (!) sense of structure and proportion. Daan Vanderwalle (piano), Blattwerk; Johannes Kalitzke.