Peter Lieberson's first orchestral work was a piano concerto, and it was that magnificent, hugely ambitious score, based upon the Buddhist principles of Heaven, Earth, Man, that made his international reputation in the 80s. Concertos continued to feature during his composing career and there were two more for piano, both like the first, written for Peter Serkin. The second, Red Garuda, from 1999, was included on an earlier Bridge disc, and now the third, composed in 2003, appears for the first time. Each of its three movements was inspired by a poem - by Pablo Neruda, St Francis of Assisi and Charles Wright respectively - but the concerto stands up well on its own purely musical terms, in a language that shows unashamed debts to the great 19th-century piano concerto tradition, while placing them in a world that is entirely Lieberson's own. It's taut and compelling in this performance by Steven Beck and the Odense orchestra, and more striking perhaps than the relaxed, almost neoromantic Viola Concerto, which Lieberson wrote in 1992 and revised 11 years later, though that is still beautifully crafted and elegantly refined.
Reviews by Andrew Clements