Shadowlines - six canonic preludes for piano
- solo piano
- Happily commissioned by Betty Freeman
- First Performance
- 13.2.03, Barbican Hall, London: Pierre-Laurent Aimard
- Programme Notes
This sequence of pieces, all canons in different ways, was conceived as a continuous, cumulative structure: 1) A brief, seemingly improvisatory prologue. 2) The high register, fierce and harshly chromatic, against the lower, which is consonant and calm; a compact coda reconciles these opposites. 3) A miniature scherzo, all within the space of 11/2 octaves in the bass, leading immediately to: 4) Explosive and monolithic, the pianist’s hands perpetually rifting apart then re-uniting in rhythmical unison. 5) The most expansive and lyrical movement; at its heart a slow ground-bass, over which builds a widely contrasted procession of textures. After a short pause: 6) A simple and gentle epilogue. This work was written for Pierre-Laurent Aimard, and was commissioned by Betty Freeman.
© George Benjamin