Monday, August 20, 2012

Etudes, Book I

The first book of piano études took a while to rev up — the first one was written in March, 1988 and the second one in July, 1991, for starters — and the last one was written in March of 1996. There are no existing movies of half of them. I'd tell you why, but then the secret would be out. Book I is published and © by CF Peters, Edition 67928a.

There are placeholders for the études for which there are no videos, in case some are posted after this entry was first posted.

#1 E-Machines (repeated notes). Written in a playground in Mesa, Arizona, over six consecutive mornings, March 10-15, 1988. It's got a symmetrical harmonic structure based on all-combinatorial hexachords, because that's what cool kids did at the time. It was written at the request of Martin Butler, and takes off on a texture in his tape piece Night Machines.

Steve Gosling's recording.

This is Amy's 2004 recording of it.

#2 Bam! (swirls of notes). Written for Karen Harvey as a companion to E-Machines. Also entirely written outdoors.

#3 Nocturnal. (slow repeated notes) E-Machines was originally called Nocturnal E-Machines, a rather gross play on words of the title of Martin's tape piece (see #1), and when Peters took the piece, I took out the word Nocturnal and used it for this piece. The sequence of repeated notes is the same as in E-Machines. Lyn Reyna suggested it as a slow companion for the first two to make a balanced set.

#4 Trillage (trills) Written at the request of Alan Feinberg, who played E-Machines instead.

#5 Figure Eight (octaves) The first étude written just for the halibut. There is no movie of this piece, but Geoff Burleson's premiere of it, way back in the years that began with a one, is so hair-raising and death-defying that I have inserted a SoundCloud link.

This is Amy's recording on Bridge.

#6 Mano à mano (alternating hands) For Lisa Moore, honoring the two-hand tremolo she played in Davidovsky's piano Synchronism.

#7 Les Arbres Embués (thick sonorities and embedded lines). At Martin Butler's suggestion, a "Debussy-like" étude. At least that was its premise. It's the slowest and quietest piece I have, and sempre pianissimo. This is Marilyn Nonken's recording on CRI followed by a live performance of it at Tanglewood by Gregory deTurck.

Here is Amy's Bridge recording of it.

#8 Close Enough for Jazz (ostinato) for Sandra Sprecher to premiere at the American Academy in Rome.

Innova Recordings SoundClouded their recording of it by Teresa McCollough.

This is Amy's recording.

#9 Pollici e mignoli, or The Virus That Ate New York (thumbs and pinkies only). This one got infected with a virus that eats the piece up.

#10 Corrente (left-hand running notes). It is music I dreamed, with the left hand continually descending to the bottom, and also celebrating the acoustic of Aurelia 'B' at the American Academy in Rome.