A Concerto for Piano Duet

Concierto Folklorico by John Carmichael

Not many concertos have been composed for piano duet (4 hands on 1 piano). The best known are probably the ones by Czerny in the 19th century and a more recent one in 1951 by Sir Malcolm Arnold (op 32). There’s also one by Abeille in the 18th/19th century and a sprinkling of others by lesser known composers.

Now John Carmichael has arranged his solo piano Concierto Folklorico for piano duet. The music abounds with Spanish idioms, rhythms and melodies influenced by one of John’s favourite styles – for some years John was Musical Director of a Spanish dance company and in the concerto he set out to capture the colour, excitement and glamour of Spanish folk music ranging from regional dances to Flamenco. In fact the principal theme of the second movement is a haunting cante hondo melody, La Petenera.

We very much enjoyed working with John to make the figurations and flourishes suit four hands navigating the keyboard together and bringing the piece to performance. We gave its première on 19th November 2011 in London, the capacity audience giving it rapturous applause and standing ovation. Another performance was given with the strings of the Haffner Orchestra in Lancaster on 9th February 2013, being received with similar enthusiasm and preceded by a pre-concert talk and ‘interview’ in which John Carmichael also took part.

The work is for piano duet and strings. It is wonderfully rewarding to perform and evocative as well as thrilling to listen to. If you know of an orchestra who might be interested in performing it, do let us know – we just love playing it.

Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1

You might also be interested to read about Brahms' own arrangement of his 1st Piano Concerto for piano duet, and a recent addition to Anne & Geoffrey's repetoire. Click here for the full article.