b Riding East: October 2020

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Étude-Tableaux No. 4

I finally finished my next work in the set of Études-Tableaux piano pieces I'm composing and performing, modeled after Rachmaninoff's own sets. Here I continue my study in polytonality, except this time use whole tone scales throughout. It seems whenever anyone uses whole tones it must be a reference to Debussy? In this case, no, although Debussy's works are often present in my mind. Instead I was attempting to manage the perception of time, noting that whole tone scales float somewhat. The absence of semitones creates challenges of harmonic structure and progression, the motion towards a goal perhaps. Yet that was the point of using the whole tone scales -- avoiding the progress towards a given "goal". I do use ambitus to suggest soft modulations. The piece opens with both whole tone scales together before moving in and out of diatonic harmonies that eventually and finally resolve to the implied theme in A-minor.

I recorded the piece at my home here in Fairview, Wyoming on a Yamaha S400 piano. It snowed again last night.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Bach take ii + Chopin and Janáček

More piano recordings. I worked on the 4th and 18th Preludes and Fugues from Bach's Well Tempered Clavier, Book 1. I also recorded a Chopin Etude and the second movement from Janáček's Sonata 1905. All of these works were shared with my piano studio at Stanford, where we continue to meet virtually to discuss and perform music together.

Bach Prelude No. 4 in C sharp minor

Bach Fugue No. 4 in C sharp minor

Bach Prelude No. 18 in G sharp minor

Bach Fugue No. 18 in G sharp minor

Chopin Etude Op 25 no. 1 in A flat major

Janáček Piano Sonata 1.X.1905 - Smrt