for solo piano, orchestral winds, and percussion

SKU: N/A Category:


13 min.
March 25, 2008
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles
Ursula Oppens, piano
Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group,
Joana Carneiro , conductor
Commissioned by Ursula Oppens and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association
In Privacy (2008, revised 2009) the soloist might crave space, independence, serenity, but until the end is subject to continual intrusions by the ensemble of winds, brass, percussion, and celesta. It’s essentially an anti-concerto, and a conceptual successor to Virginal (2002), a work for solo harpsichord and fifteen instruments in which the soloist’s rush of material bleeds increasingly into the fabric of the ensemble. The Los Angeles Philharmonic and its keyboardist Joanne Pearce Martin gave the West Coast premiere of Virginal in 2004. The orchestra, along with pianist Ursula Oppens, then commissioned Privacy, giving the first performance of the work at Walt Disney Concert Hall in March 2008 with Joana Carneiro conducting. In 2010 Ms. Oppens performed the East Coast premiere of the revised work with the Boston Modern Orchestra project conducted by Gil Rose. Both versions have durations of thirteen minutes. But the process of revision led to my lopping off the first of the work’s two movements, and then adding substantially to the surviving one.

” … an important contribution to the Carter year … was preceded by two compelling works by emerging American composers several generations removed from the soon-to-be-centenarian…. Pianist Ursula Oppens … was also the soloist in Harold Meltzer’s “Privacy, a Piano Concerto With Winds, Brass and Percussion,” which the Philharmonic commissioned for the occasion. Meltzer was born in 1966 and is, like Carter, a New Yorker. And, despite his fondness for up-to-date rhythmic grooves, he can be something of a contrarian Carterian himself. Meltzer’s headstrong concerto, though, is not particularly argumentative. The piano sets off, and once started, doesn’t stop for a dozen minutes. The orchestra tries to slow the soloist down, steps on her feet, throws her off balance, but she speeds along with a purpose and nothing can halt her. Oppens’ virtuosity, and Carneiro’s enthusiasm, sold the score.”

— Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, March 27, 2008
Performance History
  • March 25, 2008: Ursula Oppens, piano with the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group conducted by Joana Carneiro, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles
  • Jannuary 22, 2010: Ursula Oppens, piano with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project conducted by Gil Rose, Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory, Boston, Massachusetts