"Concerto in C for Piano and Orchestra"
by Leroy Anderson:   Complete reference: recordings, audio files, published music, performances, official website

April 3, 2019

Composition: Concerto in C for Piano and Orchestra
Composer: Leroy Anderson
Completed: 1953
Instrumentation: Symphony Orchestra
Structure: 1. Allegro moderato  2. Andante  3. Allegro vivo
First Performed: July 18, 1953, Grant Park Orchestra, Chicago, Illinois; Leroy Anderson, conductor; Eugene List, pianist
Length of first performance: 16:23
First Recording: September 14, 1992, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Cincinnati, Ohio; Erich Kunzel, conductor; Stewart Goodyear, pianist
Length of first recording: 18:56


History

Leroy Anderson composed the "Concerto in C for Piano and orchestra" in 1953 in Woodbury, Connecticut.1  Leroy Anderson wrote only one concerto and only one long form composition that was not an arrangement.

Première Performance, 1953

Anderson conducted the Grant Park Orchestra in Chicago, Illinois in the première of the concerto on July 18, 1953.  Eugene List was the soloist.  Anderson conducted the concerto for the second time on the following day with the same orchestra and with List.2  All of the four reviews in the Chicago newspapers were critical of the work.  Several of the reviews showed a disparaging attitude toward the short compositions that had brought Anderson such recent worldwide acclaim.3

Leroy Anderson conducted the Concerto in C again the following year in Cleveland, Ohio on July 29, 1954 with the Cleveland Summer Orchestra, again with Eugene List as piano soloist.4  The 1954 performance in Cleveland was reviewed by three newspapers.  Two of the reviews were complimentary of both the concerto and the soloist.5

Following the numerous, generally unfavorable reviews of the concerto, Leroy Anderson decided to withdraw the work.  He did not publish or record the concerto. He never performed it again.  He told his wife Eleanor Anderson in the early 1970s that he wanted to rework the concerto.6  Although he started to make changes to the work, Leroy Anderson died in 1975 before completing the revision.

Revival, 1989

Following Andersons death, Eleanor Anderson brought the concerto to the attention of conductor Erich Kunzel.  Kunzel performed the concerto on November 6, 1989 with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.  William Tritt was the soloist.7  The concert in Toronto was not reviewed.

Frank Brieff conducted the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra in the next performances of the concerto on January 25 and January 26, 1991 in Waterbury, Connecticut.  William Tritt was the soloist for both performances.8

A music critic for the Newtown Bee in Newtown, Connecticut wrote the following in his review of the concerto:

//  One had to wonder how Mr. Anderson would have revised this work.  It has some of the flavor of the art deco era.  Perhaps by pruning some of the rhetoric surrounding the solo passages; the themes and their development are sufficiently interesting.  Thoughtful, melodic phrases for the soloist, elaborated by a composer who possessed his own pianistic skills; strings in a canon with a few notes jazzily bent; a French horn solo over shimmering accompaniment. 9

 Kunzel, conducted the Cincinnati Pops in three performances of the concerto in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Stewart Goodyear was the soloist in these concerts which took place September 10 to 13, 1992.10  The concerts were not reviewed.

Première Recording: 1992

Erich Kunzel again conducted the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra in a recording of the concerto on September 14, 1992 at Music Hall in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Stewart Goodyear was the soloist for this world première recording which Telarc released in January 1993.11

On June 11, 12 and 13, 1993, Erich Kunzel conducted the Boston Pops Orchestra in the Boston première of the concerto.  Michael Chertock was the soloist.12

Anthony Tommasini reviewed the June 11th performance of the Boston Pops Orcestra's performance for the Boston Globe:

//  It is a beguiling, handsome, infectious piece (...) It opens with a flourish, but quickly settles into a long-lined tune for soaring strings - elegant and bent with jazzy blue-notes." "...though Anderson's Americana is less skillful" than Copland's, it is "much more easy-going." He concludes: "The concerto may have structural holes.  Yet it's sunny, songful and utterly honest.

Anthony Tommasini, Boston Globe, June 12, 1993 13



Recordings:14

1992
Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Erich Kunzel, conductor
Stewart Goodyear, pianist
September 14, 1992
Music Hall, Cincinatti, Ohio
Telarc

1999
Toronto Symphony Orchestra, members of; Skitch Henderson, conductor
Catherine Wilson, pianist
September, 1999
Massey Hall, Toronto, Ontario
Spy Recordings SRCD-1001; Aureole Classics ACCD-1001

2003
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Paul Mann, conductor
Simon Tedeschi, pianist
February 17 to 21 in 2003
Iwaki Auditorium, Southbank Centre,
Melbourne, Australia
ABC Classics (Australia) 476-158-9

2008
BBC Concert Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin conductor
Jeffrey Biegel, pianist
April 24 + 25, 2006
The Colosseum, Town Hall, Waterford, UK
Naxos 8.559313
Length of this recording: 19:30


//   Om Leroy Andersons Pianokonsert i C-dur: En lille Klaverkoncert er ganske fin, og i forskellige suiter viser han både en mere klassisk og en mere eksperimenterende side af sig selv.

Jens Cornelius, Copenhagen Denmark, Optakt journal, October 200815


//   About Leroy Andersons Piano concerto in C-major: This small piano concerto is altogether fine, and in various movements he displays both a more classical and a more experimental side of himself." [ English translation of the original Danish ]


References:

1.   Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliography; Burgess Speed, Eleanor Anderson, Steve Metcalf. Compositions, Praeger, Westport CT USA; 2004, p 39.

2.   Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliography; Burgess Speed, Eleanor Anderson, Steve Metcalf. Conducting - Engagements, Praeger, Westport CT USA; 2004, pp 399-401.

3.   Leroy Anderson Foundation, Archives, Leroy Anderson House, Woodbury, Connecticut

4.   Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliography; Burgess Speed, Eleanor Anderson, Steve Metcalf. Conducting - Engagements, Praeger, Westport CT USA; 2004, pp 399-401.

5.   Leroy Anderson Foundation, Archives, Leroy Anderson House, Woodbury, Connecticut
i.   Frankel, Jim; Cleveland Press, July 30, 1954
ii.   Holtkamp, Rena; Cleveland Plain Dealer, July 30, 1954
iii.   Boros, Ethel; Cleveland News, July 30, 1954

6.   Sherman, Russell; New York Times, January 20, 1991

7.   Leroy Anderson Foundation, Archives, Leroy Anderson House, Woodbury, Connecticut

8.   Leroy Anderson Foundation, Archives, Leroy Anderson House, Woodbury, Connecticut

9.   P.A.H.; The Newtown Bee, Newtown, Connecticut; January 26, 1991

10.   Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliography; Burgess Speed, Eleanor Anderson, Steve Metcalf. Works and Performances, Praeger, Westport CT USA; 2004, pp 39-40.

11.   Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliography; Burgess Speed, Eleanor Anderson, Steve Metcalf. Discography, Praeger, Westport CT USA; 2004, p 240

12.   Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliography; Burgess Speed, Eleanor Anderson, Steve Metcalf. Works and Performances, Praeger, Westport CT USA; 2004, pp 39-40.

13.   Tommasini, Anthony; The Boston Globe, Boston, Massachusetts; June 12, 1993

14.   Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliography; Burgess Speed, Eleanor Anderson, Steve Metcalf. Discography, Praeger, Westport CT USA; 2004, p 240

15.   Cornelius, Jens; Optakt journal, Copenhagen Danmark; Oktober 2008



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