Resonances III : three movements for solo piano
by Michael Hannan (1992)
Library shelf no. 786.2/HAN 30 [Not for loan]
Library shelf no. 786.2/HAN 28 [Not for loan]
Resonances III (1992) is the third of a series of four
works, each with three movements, which explore the complex
resonances of the piano by means of a constantly depressed
sustaining pedal. Like George Crumb's Makrokosmos works, the
complete cycle of twelve Resonances movements corresponds to the
twelve astrological signs. Each movement is dedicated to one or
more friends or associates (mostly composers) who have been born
under the relevant sign. Some aspect of their work or personality
has been used as a source of inspiration for the composition of
that movement, and occasionally there are actual
musical references to the works of these people.
The Libra movement of Resonances III, "Conjunction," is dedicated to Toru Takemitsu who, when we first met in 1970, sparked my interest in Japanese music, both traditional and modern. The tones of the theme of this set of variations are based on prominent tones in Toru's For Away for piano (1973). The variational procedures may be related to my earlier Japanese-influenced works, Zen Variations for piano (1982) and In the Utter Darkness for solo flute (1983), both of which depend on techniques of viewing particular pitch materials from different rhythmic, harmonic and textural angles.
The Scorpio movement, "Mysterious Clusters," is dedicated to Wayne Findlay and Richard Mills but is also strongly stamped with my own double-Scorpio traits. Indeed it is difficult to pinpoint anything that is obviously attributable to the musical personalities of either Wayne or Richard, although I've tried to make this movement more contrapuntal than the other movements of the series and I believe there is an inherent orchestral quality in the resulting textures. Like many of the movements of the Resonances series, this one involves musical references to other parts of the whole series. The most obvious is the restatement of the "Conjunction" theme at the climax of the movement; but the music also includes harmonic materials from Resonances I. In addition, "Mysterious Clusters" is permeated with melodic ideas derived from the songs of the magpie lark and the whitethroated warbler.
The Sagittarius movement, "Star Stream" is dedicated to Mark Findlay and Ian Fredericks. It consists of a constantly evolving series of ostinati in the right hand accompanying chordally decorated melodic material in the left hand. The principle of change in the right hand part is the gradual expansion of the intervals in the figuration, followed by a kind of palindromic contraction. Some of the harmonic ideas of the left hand part are derived from the first movement of the series, "Celestial Ground".
Contents note: I. Conjunction -- II. Mysterious clusters -- III. Star stream.
Resonate article: A lifetime of engagement with Australian music by Michael Hannan
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