Partial Pastoral Lobotomy is the third movement from Popular Contexts for piano and sampler keyboard, written for me by Matthew Shlomowitz (external link) in 2010. The work combines pre-recorded sounds triggered by a sampler keyboard played simultaneously with a piano. The samples consist of familiar sounds from popular and everyday culture, such as a flight safety announcement, a rollercoaster ride, a photocopier, phone sex and a football crowd. The instrumental music is equally varied, made of abstract textures, mimetic sounds, banal melodies and saccharine musical styles. These prosaic elements are presented, combined and transformed in strange ways. A recording of the complete work can be found on the composer’s website (external link).
Black Wires is the fourth in Richard Beaudoin (external link)’s series of pieces based on data obtained from a microtiming analysis of Martha Argerich’s 1975 recording of Chopin’s Prélude opus 28/4. The series consists of eleven works, four of which are for solo piano.
Michael Finnissy (external link)´s Alkan — Paganini (1997) is the fifth part of The History of Photography in Sound and is a three-part construction after Alkan´s Trois Grandes Études opus 76. The first section, for left-hand alone, is inspired by Alkan´s fugue Jean qui rit, itself based on the aria “Fin ch’han dal vino” from Mozart´s Don Giovanni. The second section, for right-hand alone, is drawn from Schumann´s transcription of the Paganini Caprice opus 1/12. The hands are then brought together in the third section where the material is swapped and then merged. This excerpt begins towards the end of the right-hand section.
Beat Me (cut and perm no. 1) (2007/11) by Adam de la Cour (external link), for solo out of tune piano and alarm samples is a “mash-up” of the material and practices of William S Burroughs and Percy Grainger. All the material appears exactly twice in some shape or form (except the very last bar).
Incisioni Rupestri (2004) is a piano solo from David Young (external link)´s Val Camonica pieces. The work is notated entirely graphically using fragments from rock carvings found in the Camonica Valley in northern Italy.
Kelly Ground (1966) is one of David Lumsdaine (external link)´s earliest acknowledged pieces, composed when he was in his mid-30s. Its title refers to one of Australia´s most famous historical figures, Ned Kelly, a bushranger whose defiance towards the colonial authorities eventually resulted in his dramatic capture and execution. The work is written using strict serial techniques, skillfully manipulated to create a narrative of Kelly´s execution day. This excerpt is from the end of the first strophe: “Kelly´s return to conciousness on the morning of his execution”.
John Cage (external link)´s Sixteen Dances (1950-51) was the last work he composed before he began using chance operations. Written for the dancer Merce Cunningham and his company, the work charts the eight “permanent emotions” of Hindu aesthetics. An interlude is interspersed between each emotion and the work ends with a ninth emotion, tranquillity. This excerpt is from a performance by the Libra Ensemble (external link), conducted by Mark Knoop.