About this Piece
Like Sarasate, Liszt, and the fictional Radetzky of Dangerous Moonlight, Litolff was both virtuoso performer and composer. His career as a pianist took him all over Europe, settling at various times in France, Germany, England, the Netherlands, and finally Brunswick, where he ran music festivals, conducted, and took over the management of his friend's music publishing company. Of all of his compositions, it is the four Concertos Symphoniques that stand out both in terms of formal inventiveness and musical brilliance. These pieces were unique in conception, combining the structure of a symphony with the showmanship of a classical concerto. Unlike earlier concertos, much of the thematic musical material is introduced by the orchestra, with the piano serving as obbligato. Franz Liszt, a contemporary of Litolff, was an admirer of his innovations. Liszt thought so highly of him as a musician that he dedicated his first Piano Concerto to Litolff. The sprightly rhythms and dazzling piano writing of the scherzo movement from his Concerto Symphonique No. 4 leave little doubt why he was admired by audiences and musicians alike. Of particular note is Litolff's prominent use of the piccolo and triangle in this piece, as he was among the first to incorporate these instruments into the instrumentation for a keyboard concerto.
- Composer John Glover is the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Publications Assistant.