Five Pieces (1980)

Allen Brings

About this work:
As a composer whose earliest training was as a pianist and who remains an active performer, I have always been keenly aware that among pianist-composers there have been many Kalkbrenners for every Chopin, musicians, that is, whose fingers rather than whose imagination have controlled whatever found its way onto paper. Despite my close identification with the piano then, I have composed comparatively little for it and, in order to discourage merely rewriting the previous opus, each time only after an interval of several years. The composition of Five Pieces (1980) was approached with the usual trepidation, but, with the additional time placed at my disposal by the granting of a sabbatical leave of absence from Queens College, I decided once more to "have a go at it." The results are five pieces in which I believe that I have revealed more of my most innermost thoughts than in anything else I have written. Although they represent a collection from which a pianist may draw one or more pieces as suitable, together, in the order in which they are found, Five Pieces (1980) constitutes a suite or perhaps a very serious divertimento. The outer pieces are tempestuous, the last a true finale; the second and fourth are very intimate, and the middle is a scherzo. All are based, each in its own distinctive way, on the ternary principle of statement, departure, and modified return. All are in varying degrees chromatic, but the extent to which diatonicism influences the language significantly alters the expressivity of the music. The harmonic language employed in these pieces is the result of the greater awareness of this much neglected element of music which I have experienced in recent years. Because this language is shaped according to what I determine are the intentions of each passage, it would be futile to look for a system hidden among the notes. Intending at first to compose a set of pieces for myself to play, there soon emerged a work which, if I were to give it its due, would only divert time from composing--for which there never seems to be adequate time. I leave then the performance of Five Pieces (1980) to others, who, I hope, will behave toward them as I would have. The first performance of Five Pieces (1980) was given by Genevieve Chinn in New York City on April 30, 1982. A recording of Five Pieces (1980) by Genevieve Chinn is available on a Capstone Records compact disc CPS-8679. Score available from Mira Music Associates. Contact:
Version: piano solo
Year composed: 1980
Duration: 00:13:20
Ensemble type: Keyboard:Piano
Instrumentation: ,1 Piano soloist(s)
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