Malý velký Svet (Small big World) for piano & electronics is written for Luciane Cardassi, Rosabel Choi and Katherine Dowling. I met each of these pianists at the Banff Centre during my residencies there, and was struck by their individual approaches and sound in performing contemporary repertoire. In my desire to write pieces for specific individuals, I enjoyed the challenge of writing a piece that features three individuals on the same instrument. They take turns being the soloist, and their solos emphasize their particular approach to the instrument.
The piece revolves around childhood and games, as well as the playful ways children use and learn to play the piano. There are musical allusions to and quotations of Robert Schumann’s Waldszenen, Franz Liszt’s Sonata in b minor, Alban Berg’s Piano Sonata Opus 1, Béla Bartók’s For Children, Francis Dhomont’s Forêt Profonde, and Linda Catlin Smith’s Thought and Desire. I also quote all three pianists, whose improvisations I often used verbatim.
This piece is dedicated to my father, Franta.
Malý velký Svet is most effectively rehearsed using the videoscores, which combine piano notation, playback of the soundworld and timing cues.
In performance, an electronics performer should be present to amplify the piano, preferably with miniature microphones (DPA 4060 recommended) placed inside the piano. This performer may also add live electronics.
Information about the movements and the collaborative process that led up to them is available through the following hyperscores:
TWINKLE & LOOP
The first memory I have of playing have involves piecing things together and collecting. I am squatting next to an umbrella pine (the kind, I learned recently, that inspired Respighi’s Pini di Roma), trying to fit pieces of its bark, fallen from the sock of its trunk, back onto the tree. The trees grew at the top of a hill in southern France where we lived that year. It was the same year that I started collecting shells.
I am still gathering shells, bits of trees, things that have temporarily been shed to eventually hold new life. Collecting is largely about sorting and display. Each episode reveals something different about the collection, a kind of story telling. (It is not a stable mnemonic device, however, since I rarely remember the rules of the previous episode.) Sorting is a game that relies on intuition and trusting what you have on hand. Neither my sister nor my parents could see the potential in those pieces of bark, yet they encouraged me to continue. Like the bark of an umbrella pine, pieces of the hyperscore belong to the tree of the work, made up of our adjoining and overlapping voices and sounds.