coffee table book

click above to view the premiere performance by Duo Pestova/Meyer at the Adam Concert Room, NZSM, Wellington, 17/07/2009

click here for score sample in pdf (pages 1-8)

year: 2009     instrumentation: piano duo     duration: 12'

commissioned by: Duo Pestova/Meyer

performances: New Zealand School of Music, Wellington, 17 July 2009 (premiere), Otago University, Dunedin, 22 July 2009

programme note: It is usually assumed that composers set out to build coherent musical arguments. In this piece, while repetition/self-quotation, almost entirely removed from developmental imperative, is embraced in order to convey some sense of unity, the failure to arrive at true coherence is deliberate.

Stylistic/aesthetic taboos are hinted at: minimalism, functional harmony and, indeed, narrative (perhaps using the metaphor of travel through an ever-changing landscape). It transpires that sonic "photographs" of the imagined travels were taken. Late in the piece some of these are "viewed" out of context, as if attached to the pages of a photo album or so-called coffee table book that someone is flipping through absent-mindedly.

The implication is that organisational concerns were (intentionally) taken lightly during the work's realisation, resulting in something that, while engaging from moment to moment, lacks real depth. The piece is asking, is the order, shaping and development of musical ideas really so critical after all?