Piano Études Nos. 1-3


piano Solo
(Etude No 3) Commissioned by Stephen Gutman with funds from Dartington Summer Arts Foundation
First Performance
Etudes Nos. 1 and 2 22.6.96: Aldeburgh Festival, Jubilee Hall: Ian Pace FP: Etude No 3: 26.5.98: Purcell Room, London: Stephen Gutman

Score 0-571-51912-1 on sale

Programme Notes

Étude No. 1 (1995) This is a short two-part polymetric invention, written for Sally Cavender’s birthday. It is centred around the pitch C, with varying amounts of accidentals colouring the modal field. Étude no. 2 (1995) This takes as its basic premise the black notes of the piano – that is, the pentatonic mode. This is coloured by varying numbers of white notes, and later on by transposition into many registers of the piano. The rhythmic writing works with the idea of implied metres and speeds, sometimes several in each hand. This piece was the earliest sketch for material which was later used more elaborately in my orchestral piece The Stations of the Sun. Etude No.3 (Pour les Arpèges Composées) (1997/8) The étude is a double homage to Debussy and to Benjamin Britten. Britten’s Diversions for piano and orchestra is one of a number of his works employing recurring interval cycles based upon fourths and fifths. Connecting this device in the Diversions with Debussy’s not unrelated Etude pour les Arpèges Composées provided the trigger for this étude, which quotes neither work whilst alluding to both. I have employed circles of fourths, fifths, and used both intervals to encircle other constellations of changing modes and harmonies. Both hands are in mensural canon for much of the piece, which results in hemiolas and cross-phasing of the harmonic rhythm. This étude is dedicated to the artist Tom Phillips on the occasion of his fiftieth birthday; a line from his book ‘Humument’ reflects the maritime calm of the music: “By and by, out of the white horizon, the long, low sea.” The piece was commissioned by Stephen Gutman with funds provided by Dartington Summer Arts. Julian Anderson

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