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Concerto for Piano with Wind Octette Acc.

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Colin McPhee

Colin McPhee

General Info

Year: 1928 / 1931
Duration: c. 13:30
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: New Music Society of California
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of print.


1. Allegretto – 5:30
2. Chorale – Lento – 5:25
3. Finale – Energico – 3:55


Full Score
Solo Piano
Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Trumpet
Horn in F


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

McPhee’s Concerto for Piano and Winds was composed between June and October 1928, while McPhee was staying at the home of the American composer Henry Cowell in Woodstock, New York. He had been studying with Edgard Varèse in New York City and would soon leave for Bali, a sojourn which would affect his life and music profoundly.

This was McPhee’s third piano concerto and, like the first two, it was written for himself as soloist. The 12-minute work was premiered on February 22, 1929, in Rochester, New York. It was subsequently performed in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia to favorable reviews. The Australian composer Peggy Glanville-Hicks later referred to it as “one of the classics of the 20s,” and Douglas Young has subsequently called it McPhee’s “first masterpiece” and “one of the masterpieces of ... the 20th century chamber-concerto” genre. The score was published in the New Music Quarterly of Modern Compositions in January 1931, and later by Associated Music Publishers.

The work’s clear structure, transparent textures, polytonal harmonies, and economy of means are all hallmarks of the neoclassical movement of the 1920s and '30s. With its unblending wind timbres, dissonant part writing, and motoric propulsion, the concerto is reminiscent of other wind music of the 1920s by such composers as Milhaud, Monegger, Stravinsky (e.g. Octet, Concerto for Piano and Winds), Roy Harris and Virgil Thomson. The work also owes something to Schoenberg and Varèse, whose Chamber Symphony No. 1 and Arcana, respectively, are quoted in the finale.

- Program Note from University of Minnesota Symphonic Band concert program, 25 April 2019

Commercial Discography


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Symphonic Band (Emily Threinen, conductor; Sofia Mycyk, piano) – 25 April 2019

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • McPhee, C. (1931). Concerto for Piano with Wind Octette Acc. [score]. [New Music Society of California]: [San Francisco].