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Concerto for pedal piano and orchesrtra (Charles Gounod)




Allegro moderato – Scherzo – Adagio non troppo – Allegretto pomposo/marziale.


Probably composed during the summer of 1889, the Concerto for Pedal Piano in E flat major was premiered on 4 April 1890 by the Association Artistique des Concerts du Châtelet under the title of “Symphony in E flat”. It was not Édouard Colonne but Charles Gounod himself who was conducting the orchestra on that occasion; the solo part of the concerto was performed by its dedicatee—Lucie Palicot—to whom the composer had already dedicated three works, including the Suite concertante (1886). There are such extensive similarities between that suite and the concerto that the musicologist, Gérard Condé, regarded the latter as “a revised and corrected version” of the former. Some of the passages in the work bear the influence of the great Viennese masters: Beethoven in the first movement; Haydn in the second. The third movement, a funeral march in C minor brightened in the middle by a C major song of hope, is particularly noteworthy. Although the keyboard part of this concerto is not especially difficult, the pedal-board part calls for a high degree of agility. At the risk of shocking the audience, the work’s performer had to wear a skirt that was fairly short (knee length) for the times, so that she could move more freely. The Concerto for Pedal Piano was to remain unpublished during Gounod’s lifetime for economic reasons. The composer, believing that his publisher, Leduc, was charging too much for the hire of his scores and, as a result, was impeding their distribution, gave sole ownership of the concerto to Lucie Palicot in September 1889, guaranteeing her exclusivity and, above all, enabling her to perform the work free of charge.

    Persons - 2
  • GOUNOD, Charles (1818-1893)
  • PALICOT, Lucie (1857-)
  • Themes - 2
  • Genre – Le concerto en France au XIXe siècle
  • Piano – Le piano-pédalier
  • Symposia - 1
  • Le concerto pour piano français à l'épreuve des modernités (2010)