Imposed works
For the instrumental sessions, candidates must study two new works specially written for the Queen Elisabeth Competition. The 2020 piano session being postponed to 2021, both works that were commissioned for 2020 will serve as imposed works in 2021.

Imposed work for the final

After the semi-final, the finalists of the instrumental sessions are hosted for one week at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, in particular to study without any outside help an unpublished concert piece. This work has been composed by Bruno Mantovani and has been world premièred on the first day of the final, on Monday May 24, 2021 at the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels. The six finalists have performed the work with the Belgian National Orchestra, under the baton of Hugh Wolff.

The composer about D’un jardin féérique :
‘Among the five little jewels that make up Maurice Ravel’s Ma Mère l’Oye suite, I have always had a particular fondness for “Le Jardin féérique”. That majestic slow movement is, for me, the definition of the notion of purity in music. This almost diatonic work of astounding simplicity juxtaposes the most affecting harmonies. At the centre of the piece, an ascending movement leads to a ninth chord that seems to suspend time. I found myself being particularly moved by that chord when I was conducting the work in April 2017 in São Paulo and I conceived the idea of using it in a short piano concerto to be played in the final of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 2020. So it is introduced in the first bar of my work, with the piano acting as an ornament to the principal harmony. Driven by a melodic interplay of timbres, it underlies a voluble, virtuosic solo discourse. But the piano part develops into more melodic, then ornamental, and then mechanical playing.

Commissioned by the Queen Elisabeth International Competition, D’un jardin féérique is dedicated to my daughter Giulia.’

Watch the twelve performances of D'un jardin féérique on the multimedia page, in the videos of the final, or on our Youtube channel.

Imposed work for the semi-final

Pierre Jodlowski has written the imposed work in the semi-final, Nocturne, a work for solo piano, has been premiered on Monday May 10, 2021 at Studio 4 in Flagey. The candidates receive the score of this work after the preselection.

The composer about Nocturne :
"This piece refers to the classical piano repertoire. But the inspiration is not directly linked to nature or to paintings that evoke dusk or night as in the music of Chopin or Debussy. Here, the subject of the piece is more about sleep.
As an artist, I am faced with obsessional thoughts, in connection with composition, that are hard to stop. Over the years I have learned to tame those thoughts and to let them take effect, against my will. Falling asleep can therefore be a lengthy process, combining gentleness and brutal impressions when the brain is unable to completely let go. So the problem is how to surrender when ideas or inspiration appear suddenly, as powerful and complex emotions, generating electric shocks throughout the body ?
This music follows the process of vacillating between being engulfed and waking up, between gentleness and violence."

Watch the twelve performances of Nocturne on the multimedia page, in the semi-final recital videos, or on our Youtube channel.

The performances of the imposed works have been broadcast on Belgian radio, television (RTBF & VRT) and were streamed live on our website. Both works are released on CD.
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