Almost twenty months ago I wrote the blog Reconstructive Surgery, but did not divulge the piece to which I referred and on which I was working. The secret is now out, by way of the orchestra website, so you can see what I was referring to here. It is a concerted work: a prelude, theme, and variations on a popular Gypsy-style march of Carl Maria von Weber, jointly composed (on a very tight schedule), for a particular concert in 1833, by Felix Mendelssohn and Ignaz Moscheles. The re-premiere gig is 21 February 2009. Everyone is invited to Austin.
It’s interesting to read what I wrote earlier, because my understanding of the piece has changed. So it’s not, say, the Bach Chaconne or Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto. It is expert as hell, though, and what’s more—more apparent as I practice it than when I was pushing notes around on paper—it is so grateful to play. Mendelssohn was 24, and Moscheles almost 40, and the piece feels gloriously exuberant. To practice it is to remember the pure joy of playing, of tearing off one’s childhood repertoire WAY too fast. It’s brilliant (stylistically it is the post-classical brilliant style, with fairly heavy doses of style hongrois), and while display-oriented it is eminently playable. So I think I’ve gained a greater appreciation of the piece; imagine two top players of the time (close pals; Moscheles’s son would be named Felix) writing, for themselves, music they would have a good time playing. To be honest, I like it better than I like Mendelssohn’s First Piano Concerto, which one hears fairly regularly, and this one deserves publication and a firm place in the repertoire (though the joint authorship is an interesting wrinkle). Art is all very well, but now let’s have a knees-up!