"Concerto in C for Piano and Orchestra" by Leroy Anderson: Complete reference: recordings, audio files, reviews, published music, performances, official website
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 Copyright: 1953, 1995 by Woodbury Music Company, Woodbury, Connecticut
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.
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
Reviews of Leroy Anderson's "Concerto in C for Piano and Orchestra"
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
Reviews of BBC Concert Orchestra Recording (2008)
// The one almost totally unfamiliar piece here is the one I like most, the Piano Concerto in C. Cast in three movements, the work is kind of a cross between Rachmaninov and Richard Addinsell, of Warsaw Concerto fame. The first movement of Anderson's concerto seems modeled on the opening panel of the Rachmaninov Second. The music is lighter than Rachmaninov's, of course, but is often reminiscent of it and features themes just as catchy, just as memorable - and I'm not exaggerating. The first movement features two quite outstanding themes, the second of which appears in the second and third movements in slightly different guises. There is an interesting central fugal episode in the opening movement that leads to the return of the chipper but stately main theme. The Rachmaninovian second theme actually dominates the work and you're enchanted with each reappearance in the subsequent movements. The second movement actually has hints of Mahler(!), probably coincidentally. The finale's main theme is a mixture of Vaughan Williams and Copland. At any rate, unless you want your Classical music on the serious side only, the Concerto is well worth your while, as are the other colorful gems on this disc.
Robert Cummings, Classical.net, 2008 *
// The disk ends with Anderson's biggest concert work - the Piano Concerto in C. Here the style is more serious, the slow movement is simply drop dead gorgeous, with a lovely dance section in the middle, and the finale is a hoot. Anderson withdrew the work, which, with hindsight, we can see was unfair, as it is a fine piece.
Bob Briggs, Musicweb International, 2008 *
// The CD concludes with a real rarity, Anderson's three-movement piano concerto. It was written in 1953 and is the composer's most extended piece. Disappointed with its reception, Anderson soon withdrew it, and it wasn't revived until 1989. In retrospect it's a romantic treasure that's on a par with such pieces as Richard Addinsell's Warsaw Concerto. Captivatingly tuneful.
Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found, February 15, 2008 *
// The highlight of this disc is undoubtedly the Piano Concerto. I remember on my first trip to New York coming across a CD of this piece in Tower Records up by the Lincoln Center. I was so enthused by this 'in-your-face' work as I sat in Central Park with my portable CD player - and listened to it at least three times through! It seemed to epitomise that city.
It is full of wonderful tunes, melodies, pianistic figurations, and lush harmonies. In fact we hear all the paraphernalia of the romantic concerto at its very best. It could be argued that the first movement has all the hallmarks of Rachmaninov and the last nods vigorously to Edvard Grieg. It could also be argued that it does not matter.
This is the all-American Piano Concerto - unlike Gershwin in that it does not 'do' jazz. It is untypical of Edward McDowell in that it is not romantic in a European style. Yet from the point of view of melody and sheer pleasure it can hold its own against any piano concerto in America or beyond. Look out for that wonderful second subject of the third movement. Anderson at his very best - a touch of genius.
John France, Musicweb-International 2008 *
Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Erich Kunzel, conductor
Stewart Goodyear, pianist
September 14, 1992
Music Hall, Cincinatti, Ohio
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Paul Mann, conductor
Simon Tedeschi, pianist
February 17 to 21 in 2003
Iwaki Auditorium, Southbank Centre,
ABC Classics (Australia) 476-158-9
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 ]
Film and Television:
1. "Mark Twain's America", June 1998; PBS
2. "Once Upon A Sleigh Ride: The Music and Life of Leroy Anderson", June 2000; PBS; SRT- Swedish Radio & Television
1. Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliography; Burgess Speed, Eleanor Anderson, Steve Metcalf. Compositions, Praeger, Westport CT USA; 2004, p 39.
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
Copyrights to the music of Leroy Anderson
are held by Woodbury Music Company LLC.
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