Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Perenepsis #5 (A Nightmare)

Warning: If this is your first visit to this site, please listen to any other piece first! While I'm pretty pleased with it, I recognize that someone who hears this first may think this is what all of my music sounds like, and be scared off from listening to any other of my pieces, some of which are almost civilized. Thank you for your cooperation; it really is for your own good...

A couple weeks ago, I started to write a post explaining the lack of activity here lately, but just as I was about to publish it, the previously mentioned Perenpsis #5 started to demand my attention again, so after a couple of weeks, it's finally done -- ahead of #4, but it keeps its own number. This is the slow tempo installment of the Perenepsis series.

The first 59 seconds of this, which had been on paper for several years, has been left almost completely as is; I'm not sure, but this may have been part of the Frankenstein project, or even a precursor to it. There's no real counterpoint to speak of, and it's not all that melodic, either; it's mostly quiet (apart from the occasional outburst) and atmospheric, with heavy use of the sustain pedal. As in an actual nightmare, some images recur in various forms, at times barely recognizable, while others (such as the demented little waltz) pass by never to return.

One chord held this up for several days; there was something about that one chord that just didn't sound quite right. Yes, I know --  you'll probably be thinking, "Really??? Just one?" But yeah, there was one, at 2'08". No matter which two notes I played there in the left hand, nothing worked. Finally, it occurred to me that if no two notes were working, then maybe two was the problem, and sure enough, a plain old major seventh chord with the third omitted did the trick. It also made sense horizontally (continuation of the lower right hand line in the left hand along with the other two left-hand notes), so problem solved.

On the other hand, there were some pretty neat chords that fell into place more easily. Two of these are a spread out G-G-F-E in the lower end at 2'50", and the closing cadence: a kind of a IV-I thing -- a modified D6/4 chord without the third, plus the added color of G# and B flat, with the D "resolving" up a half-step instead of down, to a stack of octave A's with a single D# (the open tritone, a variation on the open fifths I like so much), all with a held C# at the top -- not quite A major, but not quite minor, either: we leave the dreamer beginning to awaken but not quite there yet.

So, here it is. It is best listened to -- if at all -- in a quiet, preferably dark, room. A bit of a draft or chill might also be appropriate, and maybe some hot tea or cocoa, especially on a rainy night. But remember, you've been warned...
Oh yeah, this time I actually put a tiny bit of effort into the video part of this -- and I do mean tiny.