Monday, June 24, 2019

January Has a Face Like a Turnip

This posting was intended to be something other than another piano piece, but I was inspired by a brief, unexpected cold (for here) snap to write a little celebration of winter, just as it was officially ending. (Note: This was finished back in March or April; not sure why it took so long to get around to posting it.) It might not sound very celebratory to most, but hey, it's my celebration, so I get to celebrate my way: very slowly, and in G minor. But hey -- at least it's not another Perenepsis, so there's at least that as a difference from the last two.

And then there's the title. I think it's one of my better ones, at least of my posted pieces up to now. It's a true statement. And it's not a put-down of January or of turnips, both of which I like. January is my favorite month; it's one of the cooler ones, a plus in my book, and it's also the month during which I was born, which I consider to have been a pretty decent thing. Turnips are great in a vegetable soup, go good with pork, and add a nice twist to mashed potatoes. Very underrated -- kind of the vegetable equivalent of January.

This started out as a kind of ground bass variations thing, but only the first two bars of the bass pattern actually repeat throughout. Elements of sonata form crept in, and something happened that I kind of like, especially the sequence of chords starting around 2:19. I'm not even sure what to call a couple of those chords, but I like them, and how the whole sequence keeps increasing in density but then ends in just 4 octaves of D in preparation for a return to the tonic G for the beginning of the recapitulation of the sonata aspect of the piece.

I'd like to say what's coming next, or when, but at this point I have no idea. Too many ideas fighting for attention right now -- old ones still in progress, some less old ones near completion, a few recently started ones at an indeterminate state of progress, and some even newer ones that currently exist only in my head, or as scribbles at the end of current scores. If I had to guess, I'd say it's probably going to be another piano piece or something for string quartet, and in terms of when, probably not until July or August, possibly depending on when I take my summer vacation.





Monday, February 25, 2019

Perenepsis #7: Winter Contemplation

Another Perenepsis entry so soon? Yeah, sometimes it just happens. #6 came together in less than a week and this one, aided by a day off for a visit to the dentist, in about a day. It isn't what I started to write, but I shifted gears on it almost immediately, retaining only the first three notes (transposed) of the original idea and decided that I had something coherent that could turn out pretty decent.

As the full title implies, this is a slow, meditative piece, in B. Specifically, the rather neglected Locrian mode... except for when the F-sharps pull it more toward Phrygian mode. Or when the A-sharps make it more of a plain B Minor. Or when the D-sharps skew it toward B Major. Anyway, it's in some form of B. Except for the middle 3/4 section, which is in A... sort of.

Even though #6 and #7 don't sound that much alike, they both fit my hard to explain definition of Perenepsis -- #6 is more along the lines of the original #2 (now #1; I have since swapped the order of the first two, which is not reflected on this site), and this one is closer to #5.

Meanwhile, the piano piece that I started less than two weeks ago, having been pushed aside by these two newcomers, has decided to give it a rest for a while. I'll probably work on some other things while I let it marinate. Maybe something for strings; give the piano a rest for a bit.




Perenepsis #6: Folk Dance(*)

First off, I have to say that the full title here is a compromise. It is a sort of folk dance, somewhat along the lines of Dvorak's Slavonic Dances, but a little distorted, using mostly alternating bars of 11/8 and 10/8, with three sevens and a five somewhere in the middle, inspiring the title "Folk Dance for People With One Leg Shorter Than the Other". However, I realized that some might find this offensive, so I decided to go instead with "Folk Dance for People With One Leg Longer Than the Other", which can't possibly offend anyone, can it?

The rhythmic oddities having already been addressed, this is otherwise just a little piano piece (as implied by the Perenepsis part of the title) in D minor, never straying very far or for very long from the initial idea expressed in the first two measures. If you're familiar with Dvorak's Slavonic Dances mentioned above, you might like this... or you might not. And if you're not familiar with them, the same thing applies, which makes this reference rather superfluous, but I thought this write-up needed a little padding, so there it is.