As it were (solo piano)
by Elliott Gyger (2011)
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Library shelf no. CD 2508 [On loan, due 7/4/17]
As it were is a meditation on the distinctive atmosphere of the two Beethoven piano sonatas in the key of A flat, Op. 26 and Op. 110, which share a tone of intimacy and confident serenity.
My starting point was 35 chords drawn from across the two sonatas, representing a common ground between Beethoven's language and my own. In their original contexts, each of these chords is a fleeting dissonance, a moment of resonant tension within a phrase; but here they become harmonic events in their own right, finding new combinations and successions which follow a logic completely different to that of tonal resolution. The piece nonetheless retains strong Beethovenian fingerprints in the sonorities of the chords, which are never transposed or re-voiced. Also borrowed from Beethoven are the first few notes of the subject from Op. 110's closing fugue, a distinctive pattern of rising fourths alternating with falling thirds.
My somewhat enigmatic title, as well as suggesting a whimsical flight of fancy, contains a pun: "As" is the German name for the note A flat - although the nature of my chosen materials falls more "around" the key of A flat than actually "in" it.
Duration: 6 min.
First performance: by Ian Holtham — 22 May 11. Trinity College Chapel, University of Melbourne
Performances of this work
22 May 11: Trinity College Chapel, University of Melbourne. Featuring Ian Holtham.
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