Composed in 1997, Concerto Conciso was commissioned by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (which presented the premiere), the London Sinfonietta, and Ensemble Modern. The composer has written the following note:
“It is in two movements. The first was originally entitled ‘Study for a Coda,’ and casts the pianist in the deliberately restricted role of musical director, with a semi-soloistic continuo part. The soloist is released, and claims center stage, at the beginning of the second movement. This has two parts: first, a slow ‘ciacconetta,’ which runs through six divisions [variations] upon a seven-bar chord sequence announced by the piano; secondly, a fast ‘brawl’ in a tonality discovered by an unexpected resolution of the last cycle of the ‘ciacconetta.’ The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians describes the medieval English brawl (from the French branle) which this section might evoke as a form of round-dance: ‘the linked dancers… face inwards to the center of an arc, or a full circle, moving sideways to the left and the right.’ ”
Paul Griffiths is a Welsh music critic, novelist, and librettist.