Corroboree: for 3 or 2 Pianos
1963 – 1964




Edition Peters

Instrumentation Notes

three (or two) pianos

Program Notes

CORROBOREE was composed in 1963–64 on commission from Radio Bremen, Germany, and first performed in that city by Aloys, Alfons, and Bernhard Kontarsky in May, 1964.

The title is an Australian native word defined by Webster as a nocturnal festivity with songs and symbolic dances by which the Australian aborigines celebrate events of importance; a noisy festivity; TUMULT. The piece will be a little noisy, and although the Kontarsky brothers are not Australian and did not actually sing or dance, the festive aspect of their activities is both legendary and joyous, and thus the title seems quite apt.

I have used five kinds of piano sounds as the basic structural material: single notes, chords, and clusters on the keyboard, and pizzicato and muted sounds on the strings. By means of frequency, tempo, and density controls, these five “colors” are distributed among the three pianos to make the continuity a kind of sonicspatial “conversation.”

The macro-form is fixed but there are degrees of flexibility and spontaneous exchange in most of the interior sections of the form. As in my “open-form” works (a different form of the materials in each performance), the possibility of intimate, immediate, and spontaneous exchanges and shifts of action and “poetry” throughout the performance is extremely important.

More Information

Commissioned by Radio Bremen, Germany for the Bremen Festival. Dedicated to the Kontarsky brothers.

Audio Samples


Selected Performances

July 30, 2016 • Maui, Hawaii

performed by Adam Tendler, Joan Forsyth, Robert Pollock

January 19, 2013 • Boston

Callithumpian Consort

November 22, 2003 • Funkhaus Wallrafplatz, K?ln, Germany

November 20, 2002 • MoMaQNS -Long Island City, New York

Ensemble: Stephen Gosling, Joseph Kubera, Mark Peloquin

September 14, 2001 • Sendesaal Radio Bremen, Bremen, Germany

Ensemble: MusikFabrik

April 10, 2000 • University of Texas College of Music

Conductor: Fouad FakhouriSoloist: Tomoko Yonemaru, Cavett Hughes

January 14, 1995 • Leipzig

Soloist: Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Florent Boffard

June 3, 1993 • Hebbel Theater, Berlin

April 9, 1992 • Darmstadt

Scholz, Kristiane; Persson, Mats 

December 1, 1989 • Oberlin College Conservatory of Music

Ensemble: Oberlin Contemporary Music EnsembleConductor: Earle BrownSoloist: Carl Riehl, Jeremy Denk, Robert Spano

May 11, 1987 • Auditorium RAI, Rome

Ensemble: Ensemble Gruppo Musica d'Oggi

May 12, 1983 • Saarbruecken, Germany

Soloist: Yukiko Sugawara, Gunilde Cramer, Andras Hamary

January 28, 1976 • Frankfurt

Soloist: Anne Stickler, Heiner Goebbels, Joachim Baerenz

March 7, 1969 • Mainz, Germany

Soloist: Alfons & Aloys Kontarsky

March 3, 1969 • Kaiserslautern, Germany

Alfons Kontarsky

May 6, 1964 • Bremen

Soloist: Aloys, Alfons, Bernhard Kontarsky

Sample Page

Corroboree: for 3 or 2 Pianos sample page


A life in music – CONTEMPORARY SOUND SERIES Box 3 (released 2010-08)


Performed by Various

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SCENE: Piano Music of the Darmstadt School Vol 2 (released 2004-05-25)


Performed by Steffen Schleiermacher

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Chamber Music (released 2003)

Matchless Recordings UK

Performed by Various

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Forced Exposure

Music for Piano(s) 1951 – 1995 (released 1996)

New Albion

Performed by David Arden

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New Music for 1, 2, & 3 Pianos (released 1995-01-30)


Performed by Piano Duo Degenhardt-Kent

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Earle Brown Music Foundation