The Immortal Hand Piano Concerto for the Right Hand

Kurachi, Megumi
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2016]
Starting Page
Ending Page
Alternative Title
The Immortal Hand, a concerto for piano right hand and orchestra, is a culmination of my studies at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. It is a personal piece that portrays an emotional journey, from anger and struggle to triumph and joy. Each of the three movements, which are played without pause, depicts a different mood: anger and struggling – turmoil and searching – exciting and active. Several years ago, I had an experience where the use of my left hand was severely limited. As piano is my primary instrument, I chose to write a piano concerto that would reflect the struggles of this personal experience, while also providing a rare outlet for others dealing with similar problems. There are very few piano concertos written for one hand. The number of left-hand piano concertos increased somewhat after World War I. This is largely due to Paul Wittgenstein, a highly-respected pianist who injured his right arm during World War I. He subsequently commissioned composers to write piano concertos for him. In comparison with the number of left-handed piano concertos, piano concertos for the right hand are extremely rare. Because of this, and because of my own previous injury limiting the use of my left hand, I decided to write a concerto for the right hand. In this piece, I wanted to find a way to link all of my movements musically. I focused on using four specific motives (a, b, c, d) to unite the entire piece. In particular, the a motive appears at the very beginning of the main theme of each movement, creating a common thread the runs throughout the entire work. The first movement is in ternary form, while the second and third movements are each in rondo form. I expressed a development of emotional conflict in the second movement, which links the very different characters of the first and third movement. In the third movement, there are moments of recollection of the first and second movements. In this concerto, I did not consciously write in any traditional keys, preferring instead to incorporate modes. These modes help express the emotional content of the work. For example, in the second and third movements, both of which are composed in rondo form, the refrain returns in a different mode each time. This allows the overall mood of the refrain to change with each appearance. In the second movement, most notably in the introduction, I used contrasting modes to portray the emotional conflict that is so important in this particular movement. The Immortal Hand is a musical portrayal of the development and eventual resolution of conflict, one that is particularly personal to me, given my own experiences. I also composed this piece to provide new repertoire for others going through similar circumstances. By combining my experience as a pianist with my work as a composer, I have been able to tap into my own experiences as a culmination of my studies at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2016.
Includes bibliographical references.
Piano concerto, right hand
Geographic Location
Time Period
Related To
Theses for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Music
Table of Contents
Rights Holder
Local Contexts
Email if you need this content in ADA-compliant format.