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harpsichordist, fortepianist, early keyboard specialist

Fortepiano and Harpsichord Concertos

Pawel Siwczak enjoys collaborating with orchestras, equally comfortable leading from the keyboard or working alongside a conductor. Fortepiano concertos by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven or harpsichord concertos by Bach and De Falla are a wonderful chance to explore the warmth and freshness of historical keyboards paired with period or modern ensembles. Pawel’s experimental approach means he is also open for commissions from established composers keen to explore the sonority of the harpsichord or fortepiano, or creatively combining the sound of “old” and “new”.

Here are some samples of Pawel’s concerto collaborations

Pawel Siwczak plays Mozart concerto on the fortepiano

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Concerto No. 9 in E flat major, K. 271 “Jenamy”

Also known as “Jeunehomme”, this piano concerto written in Salzburg in 1777 is full of youthful energy. Pawel loves playing it on his copy of Mozart’s favourite instrument, a Walter & Sohn fortepiano built by Paul McNulty.

Recording from Baroquestock festival 2019
Approx. 30 min  |  Orchestra: 2 oboes, 2 horns, strings

Pawel Siwczak playing Haydn in Cobbe Collection, Hatchlands

Joseph Haydn

Keyboard concerto in D major

This early work can be played on the harpsichord or the fortepiano, and it’s an exuberant example of Haydn’s musical style. Pawel’s preference is to play it on a fortepiano as it responds better to the textures of this work. It could be played on a smaller instrument, as when Pawel performed it on the Stein piano that Haydn played himself, from Cobbe Collection in Hatchlands, UK.

Coming soon: Recording from a concert with the Royal Academy of Music Classical Ensemble at Cobbe Collection, 2021
orchestra arranged for flute, 2 violins, viola and cello by Daniel Maltz
Approx: 20 min  |  Orchestra: 2 oboes, 2 horns, strings

Manuel de Falla playing his harpsichord concerto

Manuel de Falla

Concerto for Harpsichord and 5 instruments

Chamber concerto for Harpsichord with Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Violin and Cello

Written over the years 1923-26 and dedicated to Wanda Landowska, who premiered the work, and with whom Pawel has a special affinity through his Polish heritage and educational lineage.

Pawel is currently working on a project that includes this concerto performed alongside a contemporary commission from Héloïse Werner, with members of Britten Sinfonia
Approx. 14 min |  Ensemble: flute, oboe, clarinet, violin, cello

Johann Sebastian Bach

Harpsichord concerto in F minor, BWV 1056

Beautiful, short concerto in a dramatic key of F minor that can be played with chamber ensemble, or scaled up to larger forces.

Approx. 10 min  |  Orchestra: strings

Johann Sebastian Bach

Brandenburg Concerto No 5, BWV 1050

One of the most loved works from this collection, with the concertino featuring flute, violin and harpsichord – with the focus on the keyboard, especially in the flamboyant solo harpsichord cadenza to the 1st movement, showcasing the virtuosity of the player and the brilliance of the instrument.

Approx. 20 min  |  Concertino: harpsichord, flute, violin  |  Ripieno: violin, viola, cello, violone

Johann Sebastian Bach

Concerto in A minor, BWV 1044

Similarly to Brandenburg 5, this is a ‘triple concerto’ with the solos given to flute, violin and harpsichord. Although less known, this is possibly a more dramatic, and even more virtuosic (albeit less flashy) work, with the keyboard alluding to number 3 with the ceaseless passages of triplets. There is even Bach’s signature woven into the orchestral texture (chords forming the B-A-C-H sequence).

Approx. 22 min  |  Concertino: harpsichord, flute, violin  |  Ripieno: violin, viola, cello, violone

Johann Sebastian Bach

Concerto for 4 Harpsichords in A minor, BWV 1065

This is an extravagant work with 4 harpsichords blending to create a unique sonority – particularly the slow movement where 4 keyboards simultaneously arpeggiate the same chords, but each in a different way. It is one of Bach’s transcriptions of popular Vivaldi’s concertos, full of energy and attractive rhythmic and harmonic patterns.

Approx. 10 min  |  Orchestra: strings

Ludwig van Beethoven

Concerto No. 5 in E flat major “Emperor”

The last of Beethoven’s piano concertos in the key often described as heroic, it was written between 1809 and 1811 so it corresponds to the date of the instrument after which Pawel’s piano was made (1805). This concerto explores in full and potentially brings this instrument to its limits. The second movement is utterly sublime, one of the most charming, mystical pieces Beethoven wrote.

Approx. 40 min
Orchestra: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, strings

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Concerto no. 22 in D minor, K. 466

The first of only two piano concertos that Mozart wrote in a minor key, and D minor was used is some of his most dramatic music (Requiem, parts of Don Giovanni…). The second movement, Romanza in B flat major is exquisitely tender, with an agitated Sturm und Drang middle section. The last movement ends with a bright major section that closes the piece with a light-hearted finale.
The premiere of this work, with Mozart as a soloist himself, was met with enthusiastic reception and this concerto is as loved today and it was in 18c. Vienna. Pawel’s fortepiano is copied after one of Mozart’s favourite instruments and lends itself beautifully to this piece.

Approx. 30 min  |  Orchestra: flute, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, strings