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Carson Cooman: Pittsburgh Concerto (2005) for orchestra, study score
Full Orchestra - Advanced - Digital Download
Composed by Carson Cooman (1982-). 21st Century, Contemporary Classical. Score. 54 pages. Published by Musik Fabrik Music Publishing (S0.205617).
Item Number: S0.205617
Pittsburgh Concerto (2005) was written for the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic and is
dedicated to Amy Stabenow, concert manager at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Music. The
piece was conceived as a tribute to the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
The work contains only two specific “programmatically inspired” images related to
Pittsburgh. They form the outer two sections of the work. The inner four sections are
inspired more abstractly by various aspects of the city, its landscapes, and its people; they
feature a series of solos and duets for many members of the orchestra – in the manner of a
“concerto for orchestra.”
The opening of the work is inspired by Pittsburgh’s history as America’s steel capital.
Colors and sounds of the clangorous industrial age of America’s past are evoked. The basic
musical material (a six-note cell) for the entire work is presented in this aggressive
introduction. Throughout the rest of the work, this basic material is developed in ways that
range from lushly romantic to aggressively athletic.
The following section is marked “slow, lush” and features a duet first between trumpet and
tuba, over warm harmonies in the orchestra. A brief duet for vibraphone and marimba leads
to an extended viola solo.
The next section is fast and energetic. It begins with an athletic duet for English horn and
bass trombone, followed by a ringing duet of tubular bells and crotales. The final solo is for
violin, as the orchestral texture disintegrates around it.
The next section, marked “slow, mystical”, begins with a duet between piano and bass
clarinet. A passionate horn duo follows before a passage for solo bass leads directly into the
This section is fragmentary and halting. An unpitched duo of bass drum and flexatone
begins, leading to an aggressive and abortive duet between solo flute and bassoon. Finally,
an extended cello solo closes the section.
The final part of the work is inspired by my first visit to Pittsburgh. When driving in from
Pittsburgh airport (which is far outside the city), the city itself is “hidden” from the road by
hills. Upon reaching the hills, one enters the Fort Pitt tunnel and, after a few moments,
emerges from it on a suspension bridge over the Monongahela River. Late at night, this was
a truly breathtaking moment as the city and its rivers emerged suddenly in a mass of glittering
lights. The ecstatic rush of the lighted city at night is portrayed in this section – amidst
fragments from the opening, recalling the industrial past, now transformed into something
3 Flutes (3rd dbl. Picc.)
3 Clarinets in Bb
Bass Clarinet in Bb
4 Horns in F/Bb
3 Trumpets in Bb
Percussion (3 players)
I: tubular bells, bass drum
II: vibraphone (motor off)
III: crotales, marimba, flexatone
(Percussion II needs two rosined bows.
Percussion III needs one rosined bow.)
(principal/solo contrabass must have machine extension to low Db)
This is the score only. The parts are available on rental from the publisher
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