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Audacious binary forms : for one performer on 2 pianos

by Paul Copeland (2016)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Michael Kieran Harvey from the CD Audacious Binary Forms

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Work Overview

Audacious Binary Forms (winner of Jean Bogan Prize for Piano Composition 2016) is in a fractured binary form. Two types of structures exist; experimental structures, which explore the full sonorities of the piano, and traditional structures, in various forms such as modern jazz, variation form etc.

The work is musical theatre, and various props are used during the performance, such as a whistle, black and white mask, 13 cutout cards for randomly distributing the structures, and a silver coin, to name just a few props. The performer is to wear black and white clothing for visual contrast, representing the binary form of the composition. The performer is to show a very large range of emotions musically, and in physical gestures, such as conducting.

There are four different performance options.

  1. Minimalist Option.
    13 cards are shuffled. Each card represents a structure. Only one structure is performed. With this option the piece could last as short as 20 seconds.
  2. Stochastic Option.
    An audience member can shuffle all the pages of the score. This results in a very unstructured performance.
  3. Performer's Option.
    The performer prepares the structures according to his musical tastes.
  4. Performer/Composer Option.
    The performer contacts the composer, and we work out a performance structure.

The work is in memory of my composition tutor Felix Werder 1922-2012.

Work Details

Year: 2016

Instrumentation: Solo pianist (on 2 pianos or 1 piano).

Duration: 20 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Approximately half of the score is purely graphic which requires the utmost skill in playing avant-garde music by the pianist.

Dedication note: Dedicated to Felix Werder

First performance: by Michael Kieran Harvey at 2016 Jean Bogan Prize: Paul Copeland's 'Audacious Binary Forms' (Harold Lobb Concert Hall, Newcastle Conservatorium of Music) on 5 Nov 2017

The composer has noted the following styles, genres, influences, etc. associated with this work:
This piece is influenced by the piano works of Karlheinz Stockhausen and the graphic scores of Luciano Berio.

If you plan to play this piece please contact the composer at paulcopeland1@bigpond.com. He would like to get a high quality video of the performance so that he can upload the video to his youtube page.

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for/to
2016 Jean Bogan Prize for Piano Composition Winner Paul Copeland


Performances of this work

5 Nov 2017: at 2016 Jean Bogan Prize: Paul Copeland's 'Audacious Binary Forms' (Harold Lobb Concert Hall, Newcastle Conservatorium of Music). Featuring Michael Kieran Harvey.

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