thumbnail of Composer in the world of today; Four-hand music for piano
Hide -
This transcript was received from a third party and/or generated by a computer. Its accuracy has not been verified. If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+.
Were. The composer in the world of today. The School of Music and the radio service of the University of Illinois. I invite you to listen to another program in the series. The composer in the world of today. Comment and illustrations on 20th century American music by an American composer. Conducting this series is Beryl Phillips Professor of Music at the University of Illinois and an internationally famed composer. The composer in the world of today is produced and recorded by WRAL the University of Illinois radio service. Under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. And. With. That. Today Mr. Phillips will discuss forehand music for the piano. Now the composer in the world of today.
And here is Beryl Phillips. Many a young student of the piano has at one time or another gained his knowledge of the great classics of the orchestral repertoire by sight reading and studying arrangements of these large works written out for two performers at the keyboard. This practice aforehand the wets of one piano has also served as ensemble training for the student pianist. The give and take necessary in such music is experience. The pianist studying solo music exclusively cannot get in any other way. In order to play for hand piano music each participant must be sensitive to the demands of the work. But more than that he must also know the rhythmic and dynamic character of his partner so that a perfect ensemble result. This is not so much a matter of teamwork as it is like a fast game of tennis singles. With the rivalry removed and like tennis four hand piano music is mostly for the enjoyment of the players not usually so much for the delectation of the onlookers or listeners that may be one reason why there has not
been ever since the invention and perfection of the piano as an instrument very much of the literature of original compositions for two players at one keyboard. The 2pm team was a late 19th 20th century development and it probably owes its popularity to the fact that there is a more obvious element of virtuosity and showmanship to its performance. When those two long black shapes stretch across the front of the stage in the two pianists face each other like duelists the audience know something spectacular is about to happen and it usually does particularly if the music in question is a Concerto for Two Pianos with a symphony orchestra in the background and a conductor grandly in control of everything. It would take a composer of peculiar self-restraint never to have been tempted to write for such a heroic medium. But the simpler and homely or do it on one keyboard has its own rewards and they can be intriguing in the first place. This is a chamber music medium with all of that implies in regard to style and technique on the part of the composer. It means that he can create
works of a scale larger than the solo sonata but with the Sonata as peculiar intimacy and intensity it also means that the piano can be made to sound more colorful with two players. Since the limitation to ten fingers has been removed and as far as this particular facet is concerned 4 hands are better than two. Also as in any ensemble music the bringing to bear of more than one musical personality to the performance always subtly enriches the music and the composer may be said to write better than he knew. It is a fascinating medium and the wonder is that more composers have not written for it. Today we will hear an example of four hand piano music that is truly of this time and always a prideful thing to know. Written by an American. The composers Vincent persecutee and the work is called a concerto for piano four hands. Mr. persecutee is a brilliant pianist and has written much for the piano including ten solo Sonatas but he is also well known as a symphonic composer and has done a great deal of chamber
and choral music besides the concerto was commissioned by the Pittsburgh International Festival can can are a music in 1952 and has such stature that it since then has had a history of many performances. Publication and a commercial recording. It might be to the point to ask why the title concerto has been applied to a work that is unaccompanied by an orchestra or any other instruments. Mr persecuted nowhere gives an answer to such a question but hearing the work may be answer enough. It is a virtue also piece like the concert part of the modern concerto and it is an additional large scale work like the concerto has come to be. Also because there are two players at times one acts as a compass to the other and the illusion of principle and a company can be felt all of this is never a main consideration. Understanding what is typical and possible in any medium and knowing what is untypical and impossible can often be the first spark that sets off the creative imagination in a composer
before he writes a piece of music. Whether Mr persecutee followed the steps to be described is not important here but the fact that such steps exist for every composer is to take the first and most elementary consideration. The two players are seated side by side and share the keyboard in a way that no other piano music or chamber music for that matter has it. In the two piano forms the two players each can range over the keyboard simultaneously and it will be an acceptable technical procedure and in writing for hand music each player has to be kept to his own side of the keyboard and this will effect the form the content the color and even the meaning and scale of the composition. The fact that there is what might be called a low note specialist and a high note specialist in the two performers will affect the important matter of balance. Another question to be considered is whether or not to make one part more difficult than the other. On the sensible assumption that it might not always be possible to obtain two players of equal virtuosity. Perron Thetic we have
can be said now that Mr persecutory has not worried too much over this problem. Having written the work within the capacities of himself and his wife Dorothea the technical level of demand is high and these two are equal in being performers of extraordinary ability. It might be that for him piano music could become music for the family but of all such music were to be written as Mr persecutory has written his concerto. It would be no ordinary family that could perform it. There are more limitations to the medium. But one other stands out and the composer of the concerto illustrates his knowledge and skill in this regard. The long strings at the bottom of the keyboard when struck even softly will continue to ring a surprisingly long time. Polish or higher strings have no such lasting power as their tone dies out quickly even after being struck loudly. This will limit what each extreme of the keyboard can do. The safest area on the keyboard is the middle but it also gives a sound which gets boring the quickest. So a composer must resort to all sorts of
dodges to assure that the instrument speaks convincingly and always interesting Lee. Assembling these dodges in a musically satisfactory order is called musical composition and it is this operation that holds the most fascination for the composer. But piano even when two people are playing at the keyboard is an instrument of limited color capabilities when compared to any of the string family like the violin or the cello. But even with this limited capacity Mr persecutory has found ways of inventing textures and colors on the piano that make it seem almost appear of any string instrument among the ways he does this. Are the use of both a sustaining and damper pedals. By having sustained and staccato sounds at the same time by singing lines given to low pitches and elsewhere having brittle and glassy sounds given to the highest pitches. The work is conceived in one movement with five intersections in the first section all in tow. The material that will be used throughout the work is first introduced
right at the very beginning with the low strings. This section builds gradually and all of a pace remain slow and illusion of a pick up and speed is gained through the introduction of fast repeated short notes. The section ends quietly however as it began. The second section presents a different facet of the same material and climaxes in a hymn like tune. Just before the Presto of the third section there's a short slow part. This third main section gives its color to the whole work. It is fast and furious. Sometimes light sometimes heavy but always of ritual so kind of music. The fourth section is another slow one and the last section. Another brilliant one starts slowly and gets up to terrific speed and power to close the word. Here is a concerto for piano four hands by Vincent persecutee. It is played by the composer and his wife Dorothea persecuting a.
I am.
I am. I am. I am.
I am.
I am. I am. That was the Concerto for piano four hands by the American composer Vincent persecutory. It was played by the composer and his wife Dorothea persecutee. You've just heard for him music for the piano. Another program in the series the composer in the world of today conducting the series is Bernard Philips
professor of music at the University of Illinois and an internationally famed composer. We cordially invite you to join us again next week at this same time for the next program in the series the composer in the world of today. The composer in the world of today was produced and recorded by Kenneth Cutler. Music supervisor of the radio service of the University of Illinois under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center and is being distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the Radio Network. Anchor.
Composer in the world of today
Four-hand music for piano
Producing Organization
University of Illinois
WILL Illinois Public Media
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-cr5ndn40).
Episode Description
This program focuses on piano compositions for four hands, as well as the pianists who excel at four-hand piano.
Series Description
How the composer of today sees the contemporary world around him. Interviews, commentary and musical illustration provide a better picture of the modern composer. The series is hosted by Burrill Phillips, composer and professor of music at the University of Illinois.
Broadcast Date
Composers--United States--20th century.
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Host: Phillips, Burrill
Producing Organization: University of Illinois
Producing Organization: WILL Illinois Public Media
Subject: Clark, Dorothy
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 58-42-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:22
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Composer in the world of today; Four-hand music for piano,” 1958-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 23, 2024,
MLA: “Composer in the world of today; Four-hand music for piano.” 1958-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 23, 2024. <>.
APA: Composer in the world of today; Four-hand music for piano. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from