The Concerto pour piano MIDI (Concerto for MIDI Piano) with its classical concerto form, is made of three movements (moderately fast, slow, fast) and one cadenza at the end of the first movement. The orchestra is substituted by computer controlled synthesizers and samplers. This piece, initially composed for the Yamaha MIDI grand piano, juxtapose electronic sounds produced by the Yamaha TX816 synthesizer to the acoustic piano sonority without ever masking the latter. It was important to always have the acoustic piano sound be heard in order to reveal the musician’s performance.
During the composition of the Concerto pour piano MIDI I looked for the specificities of the musician and of the machine (the computer) and for an area common to both. I used the synthesizers to produce an ensemble whose sonority is close to acoustic instruments. However the computer allows the use of combinations, articulations and homorhythms impossible to obtain with human performers. The soloist, though tied to the nightmarish precision of the tape, brings to the music elements of expression and emotion. This merging of specificities invites the musician to enter the dangerous and risky region of the immutable precision of the computer. His performance sensibility brings to the piece the organic quality essential to musical creation.
The piece was realized in 1989 and premiered by Jacques Drouin on November 8, 1989 during a concert of the Nouvel ensemble moderne (NEM) at the Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur in Montréal. The Concerto pour piano MIDI was commissioned by Jacques Drouin with support from the Canada Council [for the Arts] (CCA). Thanks to Stan Zielinski, to Yamaha (Canada), to Archambault Musique, and to Lorraine Vaillancourt.