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Crunch : for piano four-hands

by Holly Harrison (2021)



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Crunch : for piano four-hands / Holly Harrison.

Library shelf no. 785.62121/HAR 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

Crunch is a highly rhythmic work for piano four-hands which draws inspiration from honky-tonk, blues, punk, and grunge music. In this context, the word 'crunch' refers to dissonance and rhythmic punch, which are explored on the piano in a variety of settings. Crunch can refer to notes which are close together, creating perceived or actual dissonance, or to the attack of a chord. I also see it as a nod to the percussiveness and physicality of the piano, particularly in this four-hands setting.

As a percussionist, I began writing the work using an electric drum kit, with different pitches assigned to corresponding drum pads. I see many parallels between piano and drum kit, particularly the instinctual way that hands and limbs talk to each other to create new combinations of patterns. There are many recurring rhythms that appear across the piece which are reimagined punk rock drumbeats - sometimes this is obvious and other times this is disguised.

The work appears in five movements and each experiments with a different thread or imagining of 'crunch'. The first movement sets up spiky honky-tonk-inspired patterns interrupted by punk rhythmic interludes, while the second sees the bass take up more of a solo role before collapsing into a duo duel. The third movement embraces extremes of register as a starting point and delves deeper into the duelling relationship between the duo. The insistent high register in the second half fuels a piano colour reminiscent of punk twang guitars. In the fourth, the tempo is pulled back to evoke a slow grunge feel. There is a sense of foreboding and a bluesy drawl here that I associate with mid 90s grunge bands, but perhaps with a bit more humour. And finally, the fifth movement sees the tempo snap back and embrace a jubilant, celebratory ending, underpinned by crunch chords.

Work Details

Year: 2021

Instrumentation: Piano (4 hands).

Duration: 12 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Written for: Kiazma Piano Duo

Commission note: Commissioned by Kiazma Piano Duo.

First performance: by Kiazma Piano Duo — 7 Dec 21. Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre, VIC

Performances of this work

7 Dec 21: Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre, VIC. Featuring Kiazma Piano Duo.

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