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Carpe Diem : Italian Gothic 'bas-relief' for solo piano, after Respighi's "The Pines of Rome"

by Michael Kieran Harvey (2015)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Arabella Teniswood-Harvey from the CD Carpe Diem

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Work Overview

Carpe Diem (Latin for "seize the day") is an Italian Gothic "bas-relief" for solo piano, a rumination on Respighi's "The Pines of Rome". This etude was written for Michael Kieran Harvey's wife Dr Arabella Teniswood-Harvey on the occasion of her 40th birthday.

Both had recently returned from a visit to the site of these distinctive trees in the Villa Borghese, Rome. As in the technique of bas-relief sculpture, the undulating septuplets of the opening suggest the "umbrella" shape of the intermingling pine canopies, while the stark octave theme hints at the majestic yet sensual curving pine trunks. The work is in a miniature sonata form, with a central section reminiscent of moonlight summer nights in the garden of the Villa Borghese, disturbed by a gentle melancholy breeze. Such beautiful and romantic surroundings irresistibly lead to passionate urges to grab life while one can, to "seize the day", to make the most of one's existence.

Work Details

Year: 2015

Instrumentation: Piano.

Duration: 5 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Virtuoso technique required

Dedication note: Dedicated to Arabella Teniswood-Harvey

Commission note: Commissioned by Arabella Teniswood-Harvey.

The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with this work:
Respighi, Liszt, Barber.

Performances of this work

7 Jul 2021: at Michael Kieran Harvey's 60th Birthday Bash (Nolan Gallery, MONA). Featuring Arabella Teniswood-Harvey.

5 Aug 2016: at CD LAUNCH - Arabella Teniswood-Harvey (Conservatorium Recital Hall (Hobart)). Featuring Arabella Teniswood-Harvey.

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