for two pianos and orchestra
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.
City Hall, Glasgow
Simon Crawford-Phillips & Philip Moore, piano / BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / Martyn Brabbins
The inner point of departure for this composition is the scoring, one rarely encountered in the past two hundred years, of a double concerto for two like instruments, out of which grew the underlying idea of double perception, of reception on two levels, that forms the basis of Glanert’s composition.
The external point of departure for Glanert were the fascinating photos from several of NASA’s Mars space probes and the at first surprising realization that the names of the regions on the planet Mars were without exception Latin neologisms adopted from Greek and Roman mythology.
Man’s general inability to provide new names for new phenomena, which Stanislav Lem already described so fascinatingly in his novel Solaris, leads within the framework of artistic design to a game of deception: the new is old, the old is new.
The solo instrument, which is predominantly used in the literature individualistically, heroically, or at least as the main person in dialogue with the orchestra, acquires something inscrutable through its duplication; the two-sidedness of the perception is also mirrored in the doubling of the listening experience.
The nine parts of the double concerto, which are named after the regions on Mars, follow one another without break and at the same time form three groups of three sections; this threeness is in turn based on the classical concerto form. Simultaneously, the threeness is divided because, for all intents and purposes, each “movement” is in turn an old concerto form (fast, slow, fast) within itself – here, too, the principle of double perception.
The original musical cell of the piece is a simple scale in thirds that generates all the parts, motives, themes, and melodies of the piece through permutation, variation, and unfettered growth; at the same time, there are highly complex, but also dance-like and cantabile episodes that propel the piece continually forward. Goal and climax is the concluding section “Elysium Mons,” which again sucks into itself, so to speak, all the variations of the scale in thirds within the great flow of a hymn, like a revolving nebula.
© Thomas Tangler, 2008 (translation: Howard Weiner)
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the author.
"Glanert's Double Concerto, offered a level of fantasy and exhilaration hard to find in contemporary music... During the 28-minute span, the old-world appurtenances fragment as Glanert whisks us on a journey through space - to Mars. Photos by a Nasa space probe supplied him with inspiration. So did the names of the Red Planet's regions, drawn from Greek and Roman mythology.... The seed material is a little scale in thirds, running up and down. In itself it is nothing. But Glanert the magician turns it into a pulsing particle of matter, constantly mutating and exploding."