Concerto in E-flat Major for Piano or Harpsichord
Maria Hester Park (1775-1822) was an English composer, pianist, and singer. At the age of ten, she made her piano debut during an oratorio interval at Drury Lane, where her father, John Park, was the celebrated first oboist. At fifteen, she made her singing debut at the Gloucester Festival, and she sang frequently in London concerts and festivals for the next twenty-five years. She composed at least 13 opus numbers, though several have been lost. Attaching opus numbers to music is rare in English women keyboard composers of this time; it suggests Miss Park’s seriousness and dedication to composition. She retired from composing at forty, when she married.
The Concerto for the Piano Forte or Harpsichord in E-flat Major (c. 1795) is Park’s Opus VI, published and sold by the music seller to Her Highness the Duchess of York. The concerto was written so that, if necessary, the performer could play the orchestra reduction as well as the solo passages. The opening Allegro has a strong, pulsing theme, while the middle movement is a charming Andante. The final movement is a lighthearted, rollicking Rondo that showcases Park’s virtuosic writing and wit.