for solo piano
Duration: approximately 16 minutes
I. the perseids
III. a bird in winter
IV. land of steady habits
About the work:
When I was a child, I spent hours at the piano, improvising and writing music. My small notebooks from the time are full of little sketches and grand, unrealized plans. A lot of my music was influenced by what I was learning in my piano lessons: MacDowell, Kabalevsky, Ibert. Schumann's Album for the Young. Shostakovich’s Dances of the Dolls. And by the music I heard, whether it was my mother’s cassettes of Vivaldi’s The Seasons or Bach’s Brandenburg concertos, or the otherworldly soundscapes of Charles Ives that we listened to in music class at school, and whose name and whose landmarks dot our shared hometown.
These five small pieces aren't too different in conception from the little pieces I was writing when I was 8 or 9. They are miniatures, deliberately modest in scope. They come out of fragments of songs and other pieces I've written over the past six years or so, when I left New England and moved to Virginia. As is often the case for me, the long compositional period has been spent reducing the material down to the bone, removing extraneous elements (and entire movements) and leaving only what seems essential.
They are love letters to the piano, a miniature orchestra that one player can control, a world-conjurer underneath your fingertips. And they are love letters to a state (Connecticut) and a set of childhood memories, written from afar across both time and space. With distance, some things become clearer — others more obscured.