for piano and percussion (vibraphone, 2-octave crotales)
Jana Mason & Richard Anderson, 21st Century Piano Commissioning Competition, Urbana, IL
February 2010, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Urbana, IL
Juri Seo (piano), Mark Eichenberger (percussion)
May 2015, Taplin Auditorium, Princeton, NJ
Thomas Rosenkranz (piano), Mark Eichenberger (percussion)
Andres Villalta (recording engineer)
Several years ago, after a long period of eschewing consonance and familiar chords for a more abstract, modernist language, I brought back harmony to try to see it in a new light. In vi, triads and seventh chords made a defiant comeback. My longing for a recognizable musical syntax led me back to tonality. As I wrote, tonal moments melted into passages of obfuscating texture only to emerge, when the texture cleared, with a sense of irony. The structure of this piece is delineated by the interaction of subtly-shifting bitonal chords, which are created with the piano’s sostenuto pedal and selective muting in the vibraphone. The climax contains a slanted quote of R. Strauss’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” the epitome of major-minor ambiguity.
vi was written in the winter of 2009-2010 for myself and then my friend (now my spouse) Mark Eichenberger for the premiere at the 21st Century Commissioning Award at the Krannert Center for the Arts.
January 2016, Lexington, KY
Matthew Geiger (vibraphone)
live recording of premiere
V is part of an ongoing series for vibraphone + x (in this case, x = 0). vi for piano and vibraphone, vii for harp and vibraphone, and vv for two vibraphones accompany this work in spirit. I am particularly interested in the instrument’s long resonance that—with some struggle and inconvenience—can be manipulated to produce a composed decay. All five movements of v start with the same chord, but each has distinctive characteristics. The first movement’s bipolar temperament is a reminiscence of Robert Schumann’s frequent digressions in his piano works. The second is a cute dance movement in binary form. The third is inspired by the second movement of Beethoven’s op. 81a, with its poignant expressions of loss and longing (for his patron Archduke Rudolf, not his lover). The fourth is a “petite” play between “white” and “black” keys. The last movement is a dodecaphonic tempo canon with some distorted flashbacks of preceding movements. V was written in August 2015 for Matthew Geiger.
vv (2015, rev. 2018)
for two vibraphones and four percussionists
Follow this link to watch the performance
October 2015, Princeton, NJ (pre-revision)
September 2018, Princeton, NJ