Written in three short movements this concerto is scored for 2 oboes, 2 horns, timpani and strings. As in many of my works, the first movement opens with with a slow introduction in which some of the important thematic material for the rest of the work is exposed. The main body of the movement is an agitated allegro in which florid organ writing is contrasted with more lyrical and generally more static writing for the orchestra. A shortened repetition of the introduction leads directly into the slow movement. This is immensely simple in design - a long chordal passage for strings of ever-increasing density and volume accompanies a highly ornamented single line melody on the organ. At its climax the chordal element is repeated in quicker notes by the wind, before the first section is repeated, but with the slow-moving chords on the organ and the decorative melody on the strings. The rondo-finale is a toccata, full of high spirits, in which soloist and orchestra share the material more closely than in either of the previous movements.
The concerto was commissioned by the 1979 St. Albans International Organ Festival, with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain. The first performance was given in July 1979 by Allan Wicks and the Orchestra of St. John's, Smith Square, under its conductor John Lubbock.
© Christopher Brown 1979