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Estrellita : for two pianofortes

by Andrián Pertout (2012)

Also known as: Little Star

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Estrellita : for two pianofortes / Andrián Pertout.

Library shelf no. 785.6212/PER 1 [Available for loan]

Display all products featuring this work (5 more)  

Work Overview

Estrellita or Little Star was composed as a tribute to John Cage (1912-1992) in Celebration of the 100th Anniversary of his Birth. In the tradition of American composer, pianist and theorist Henry Cowell (1897-1965) and his monumental publication of New Musical Resources (1930), the work explores a variety of compositional techniques developed during the twentieth century by American experimentalist composer Conlon Nancarrow (1912-1997) and documented by Kyle Gann in The Music of Conlon Nancarrow (1995). The C Major scale is adopted as the basic pitch material, while the simple five-limit frequencies ratios associated with the C Major triad form the basis for rhythmic development: fundamental or unison (the frequency ratio 1/1), just major third or 5th harmonic (5/4, or 386.314 cents), and just perfect fifth or 3rd harmonic (3/2, or 701.955 cents).

The melodic elements of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little, Star - the English language nursery rhyme of nineteenth-century English origin; often sung to the tune of the French melody Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman (1761); a melody employed in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Twelve Variations for Piano, K. 265 (1778). Baa, Baa, Black Sheep and the Alphabet Song also feature in the work, which are incorporated via a compositional process structured around tempo canons (or diminution canons, expressed as polyrhythmic ratios: 4/5/6) and a rhythmic sequence based on a De Bruijn cycle (0000, 1001, 1010, 1111). The 4/5/6 polyrhythmic ratios present a tripartite metrical scheme, which essentially juxtaposes three distinct layers of materials simultaneously at 30, 37.5 and 45 minims per minute. The work also serves as an exploration of the post-tonal harmonic possibilities within the twelve-note chromatic scale as presented by Elliott Carter in his monumental publication called 'Harmony Book', with additional pitch material directly derived from Elliott Carter's 3-note chord subsets of 6-note chord no. 35 (D#, E, F, G, A# and B).

Work Details

Year: 2012

Instrumentation: 2 pianos.

Duration: 4 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Professional

Dedication note: Dedicated to John Cage

The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with this work:
Henry Cowell (1897-1965); Conlon Nancarrow (1912-1997); Twinkle, Twinkle, Little, Star; De Bruijn cycle; Elliott Carter's Harmony Book.

Revised in January 2016.

Performances of this work

10 Apr 16: Melbourne Composers' League ‘Elbow Room’ Concert, Barn Gallery, Montsalvat, Eltham, Melbourne, Australia. Featuring Haydn Reeder.

10 Apr 2016: at Elbow Room Monstsalvat (Montsalvat).

2 Oct 15: Konzert Piano Daze: Ein Tastenwirbel zwischen, Meßmer Momentum, Hamburg, Germany

2 Dec 12: Toy Piano World Summit: Rainy Days 2012, Festival de musique nouvelle, Philharmonie Luxembourg, Luxembourg. Featuring Phyllis Chen, Isabel Ettenauer.

5 Sep 12: Wolf Museum of Music and Art, Lancaster, PA, USA

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