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The Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 28, is the first piano concerto by the Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera. The work was commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation and was completed in 1961. It was first performed by the pianist João Carlos Martins and the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Howard Mitchell in Washington, D.C., on April 22, 1961. The concerto was Ginastera's first composition for piano since his Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 22, written in 1952. It is dedicated to the memory of Serge and Natalie Koussevitzky.[1][2]




The concerto has a duration of roughly 25 minutes and is composed in four movements:

  1. Cadenza e varianti
  2. Scherzo allucinante
  3. Adagissimo
  4. Toccata concertata


The work is scored for a solo piano and a large orchestra consisting of two flutes, piccolo, two oboes, cor anglais, two clarinets, E-flat clarinet, bass clarinet, two bassoons, contrabassoon, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, five percussionists, harp, celesta, and strings.[1]


Reviewing a 2016 performance by the pianist Sergio Tiempo and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times called the concerto "a work of brutalist, magical realism" and wrote, "There are atmospheric and percussive moments when the score sounds slightly too much like Argentine Bartòk, but there are also unusual evocations of eerie rain-forest weirdness and great thundering percussive romps. The massive solo part, fearlessly played by Sergio Tiempo, ranges from hauntingly jazzy bits to great bursts of keyboard color that the Venezuelan pianist seemed born to reveal."[3] of The New York Times similarly remarked, "The concerto's chugging rhythms make Ginastera's lively atonal idiom feel accessible, understandable. Splatters of activity in the piano (...) fall over ethereal whispers in the strings."[4]

In popular cultureEdit

Song by Emerson, Lake & Palmer
from the album Brain Salad Surgery
Released19 November 1973
GenreProgressive rock
Songwriter(s)Alberto Ginastera (arranged by Keith Emerson, percussion movement Carl Palmer)
Producer(s)Greg Lake

An arrangement for rock band of the 4th movement, titled "Toccata", appears on the album Brain Salad Surgery by 1970s progressive rock and classical crossover group Emerson, Lake, & Palmer.

Rolling Stone magazine called their arrangement "brash and playful".[5]


  1. ^ a b Ginastera, Alberto (1961). "Piano Concerto No. 1". Boosey & Hawkes. Retrieved August 27, 2016.
  2. ^ De Marinis, Dora (February 2001). GINASTERA, A.: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 (CD liner). Naxos Records. Retrieved August 27, 2016.
  3. ^ Swed, Mark (February 26, 2016). "Review: As the Los Angeles Philharmonic tours, Gustavo Dudamel seems determined to shake up his audiences". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 27, 2016.
  4. ^ Woolfe, Zachary (March 15, 2016). "Review: Los Angeles Philharmonic Makes the Familiar Feel Fresh". The New York Times. Retrieved August 27, 2016.
  5. ^