Stravinsky wrote this piano concerto for his own use – and performed it more than forty times in the five years following the premiere under Serge Koussevitzky (who had requested such a work). Of the piquant scoring Stravinsky wrote: "The short, crisp dance character of the Toccata [the first movement], engendered by the percussion of the piano, led to the idea that a wind ensemble would suit the piano better than any other combination. In contrast to the percussiveness of the piano, the winds prolong the piano's sound as well as providing the human element of respiration." The concerto begins with a slow processional of enormous gravity; the ensuing toccata explodes with a high trumpet blast. These polarities are retained: the middle movement is a sonorous Largo, the finale a breathless Allegro.
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to Boosey & Hawkes/Joseph Horowitz.