Adagio and Allegro in C#
for solo piano, 2009
Written as a follow up to If Leaves could Sing, I wrote the Adagio and Allegro to extend my piano technique, as well as express and explore some of my repressed Jazz-like urges.
This was only one of my works that didn't get anywhere in the Sydney International Piano Competition/Composition Competition, in 2022. (I entered only because Carla encouraged me to do so.) When I see the shit that they chose, I can only consider it a badge of honour.
It's amazing to consider how cripplingly politically correct things have become, and then filtered through a committee of classical pianistic half-wits...and so it goes, One isn't supposed to voice such bitter, twisted and resentful thoughts, but really, what can I say... (9th April, 2022)
Reflective and historical ramble:
Oh, how long has it been, how many times that I have excitedly ‘woken’ to the liberating possibilities of the piano; -and how many times is it that I have come and gone in my attempts to reclaim it as the primary, and in many ways, my still ‘original’ musical voice, only to have it all slowly fade back to a dimly felt awareness, -to be put in the ‘back-burner’ of the ‘too-hard-to deal with just-at-the-present’ compartment of my un-conscious!, as the demands of my violin based work dominated The now long and extended process by which this work has come into being reflects something of the vicissitudes, and contradictions of the life that I lead.
Yet, a clearer perspective is slowly emerging, aided I suspect, by a growing sense of the limits of my life, mortality and human being-ness, with the final impetus to the (beginning of the) completion of a set of piano pieces provided by my dearest friend Linsey Pollak, (who for years kept asking, hinting, alluding to … ‘why not the piano……?’) when he organised a joint concert in the Cooran Community Arts Hall (Cooran, Qld -7th Feb. 09) to coincide with my annual visit/time spent together in Kin Kin as an opportunity to play publicly some of the compositions I had been working on for years.
-Allegro (Fig 15, bar 175). Tempo is approximate, and is also (in part) the result of my own technical/stamina limitations! But, even though the Allegro should really move, it must also find its own groove, to ‘sit’ at whatever speed it is taken!
[-Improvisatory section that once was, (between bars 318 and 319). A I originally noted –“This section is optional. If improvising, either continue the bass line, (strictly or something similar/‘free’) and improvise on top, or go ‘free’ and do your own thing, (in some sort of response to the previous material). I put in a simple chord/modulation on the final day of editing for myself, an idea to explore when I start practicing again (hopefully soon, for the concert coming up on the 23rd April at the Old Darlington School)”. I have left this section of the performance notes in, even though I last night deleted the impro. section, mainly so as to fit all the music into the pages without having to squash it in, and also because, I suspect, the piece is already probably too long; to inflict an improvisation on both performer and audience would be too much. The attempted recital at the Darlington School is just another instance of…the vicissitudes!?]
Tempi in general: guidelines really, -although some thought has been given, it is also the case that, for the computer program I use to compose and print with (Sibelius 5) tempi have to be inputted, which may sound ok on computer playback, but…you get the idea.
-Phrasings: I tried one night to put in phrasings; the next time I played it, I changed them, and put them in….next time I played it I changed them again….. I realise I tend to vary them; as I play, I ‘play with’ the music and syncopations. Whilst practising the section at Fig. 25 (particularly from bar 352 where I attempted to notate phrasings, I noticed that I ‘play’ with the music; often different, I realised that the varied phrasings were subtle ways of syncopating and literally playing with the lines and rhythms. Much the same for the allegro as a whole; I wouldn’t even begin to consider trying to phrase it all (I am not quite that ‘anal’ a character), let alone trying to make it consistently homogenous.
-Chord at bar 87: Whilst composing this section a goods train down at the railway line blew it’s horn, it was an A#, and created the perfect colour; such a perfect participation of the universe, - reality, that-which-is, or rather the Nameless One, so often creative in ways that us humans can only dream of….!
21st Dec, 2009
First sketches: -adagio: 31st Dec.04
-allegro: 26th June, 05
Completed: 1st March, 09
Revised: 21st May, 09