Preludes were written for Joanne Polk, who gave the first performance at Merkin Hall in 1994. There were originally twenty-three pieces which have been reduced to twelve in two sets.
Life Sketches is dedicated to the memory of Yvar Mikhashoff, with whom I studied piano 1974-76 at The University at Buffalo. I cherish the memory of his teaching , his friendship and his generosity. Yvar was a person of opposites; publicly gregarious, privately lonely. He loved both all things theatrical as well as arcane. A large man, somewhat ungainly, he was an exquisite ballroom dancer. The six movements of the suite locate Yvar at various moments in his life and his personae.
On the recording the 3rd and 4th movements are attacca.
On the morning of September 11,2001 when the planes hit the towers, I was teaching in New York City. In the school, all were soon aware of the chaos only eight miles south, but outside at the corner of 122nd and Broadway one saw only the seemingly normal happenings of an unusually beautiful day. Not until the crowds started surging north in search of escape from the island some hours later was there any indication in that landscape of the enormity of what had occurred.
The first movement of this piece was written in 1979 and existed as a single movement piece for many years. In 2005 I added the second movement and in 2008, the third. The recording of the first movement, in sections, is from 1981 (listed as audio files for MVT 1/2/3)
These five pieces were written for Jenny Q Chai. Though essentially a set of character pieces, their subject matter is more abstract than Life Sketches or Allora e ora; more studies on contrast of texture
Allora e ora (Now and Then), in four movements, starts with an evocation of a 13th C. saint, Santa Fina, whose life lasted fifteeen years, the last five spent lying on a wooden pallet. Accusi va er monno (That’s the way the world goes) is a song without words to a text by the scabrous Roman dialect poet of the common people, G.G. Belli (1791-1863). Ricercare is a more abstract piece in which eleven notes keep unfolding in highly divergent patternings.