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Jon Lord to compose concerto for Hammond and tympani

October 17, 2010


Among his many upcoming projects, Jon Lord has been commissioned to compose a concerto for Hammond organ and orchestra and with special parts for tympani.

The piece will be premiered with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra with Tom Vissgren on tympani in Oslo, Norway in the Spring of 2012.

– It is basically a concerto for Hammond and an orchestra with a very virtuoso tympany part, explains Jon Lord.

– Tom Vissgren and I had become acquaintances, and he had asked me if I would write a tympany concerto. I said ‘I am not up to writing a tympany concerto but how about this…’

– I had been thinking for years about writing a Hammond Concerto. Something I could turn up and play as part of a programme with an orchestra. It doesn’t have to be a programme of only my music, just slot me in along next to Mahler and I would be happy.

– So I thought about that, and told Vissgren that I could write a really virtuoso tympany part to go alongside it. We took the idea to the management of the Oslo Philharmonics and it’s now commissioned for the Spring of 2012.

– I’m getting on well with this and it’s coming along nicely.

How does Jon Lord begin the daunting process of piecing together a new concerto?

– I started thinking about something like a Hammond Concerto several years ago, so there are scraps of paper with question marks on in various files all around my music room. The same kind of paper that I had once that had at the top written ‘Telemann?’, and then ‘Experiment with this’, or something, which became ‘Telemann Experiment’.

– There’s lots of bits of paper like that, and most of them find a home after a while, especially if I’ve put them away for a month, 6 months or a year or whatever. You get them out again and play it on the piano, thinking ‘that’s actually not bad, I quite like that little idea.’ So that’s how these things evolve.

Is there a theme to this new concerto for Hammond and tympany?

– Not really. I am trying to write it to be something that I would enjoy playing myself, just as a soloist, not on the piano, but on this weird and wonderful thing that I’ve been welded to for the last 40 years. Hopefully something that will say something about the Hammond and say something about the way I view the orchestra.

– Hopefully it will also be very exciting because the tympany will have a great thrashing role in the background. What we’re going to do when we play it is put the Hammond at the back next to the tympany, so I am up there with all the percussion and the tympany. This will be huge fun. I’m looking forward to that enormously. But there is no real theme as such, just ongoing ideas that I have about the Hammond’s role in things.

Will you be rocking it?

– No, I don’t do that anymore. My back won’t allow me to.

Photo: (c) Csaba Molek, Budapest 2010

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4 comments

  1. Jon – Hi

    Malc Deakin is the brother I never had and certainly my best friend. I have worked with Hammond UK for ten years documenting, with photographs, the world’s most interesting Hammond players. I hope to meet you sometime.

    Best regards, Mark.


  2. He should have gotten Carl Palmer to premier it. Carl could have also done his Percussion Concerto. Maybe in the future.


  3. Sounds very interesting!- Avantgarde.


  4. Wonderfull ! I wait with impacience….



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