"Romance" for piano solo
Updated: May 8, 2022
Traveling to Tuscany: While on my journey, I thought I would discuss a work that reoccurs at different times and places in my memory, the music is embedded deeply in my thoughts and seems to quietly follow me even now decades since it was written. How music takes on a life of its own, I recognize it yet I don't hear it as the composer, it reminds me of a place and time that has now passed, a moment that needed to be recorded at that time in my life and now speaks in a very different way as I listen to. Catherine studies with my wife and I believe it is the only recording I have ever heard.
Today I'm thinking about the years of publications that seem to meld together as moments of exploring and changing as a composer. A diary as such representing special moments in my life. My recollection of the years of working as an elementary school teacher in my adopted city of Dallas. Of the thousands of students that I worked with through nearly three decades of teaching, only a hand full still stays in touch with me. My education was much more enriched by them than by what I gave to them. Hopefully, the love for the piano is now being passed on by many of them to the next generation.
My "Romance" was written at a time when the need for beauty and romanticism was flowing as a younger composer. The first theme that comes to mind is the middle section in c minor. The simple falling line was the beginnings of the work that was built on simplicity and beauty. I had envisioned the section continuing to develop, yet as what happens to many pedagogical work all too often, the work became more accessible yet lacked much of my original vision before the writing began. As l look back on this work now years later, I still feel the form searching to be the length of my original intent, this thought stays alive many years later as I listen to the work performed by others. The moment of inspiration is always remembered by the composer. These moments are far and few between the daily thoughts of what is usually needed to get through a day without forgetting the repetitious tasks that we all are required to perform to survive our hectic self-inflicted schedules
As I hear this work performed by Catherine, I'm still captivated by the same exact moments that influenced my decision to write the work originally. The composer's original intention never changes through the years of hearing performances of their work, I now remember the opening section came much later in the process. I felt that its whole existence was built on the moments needed to gradually ascend to the c minor middle section, an introduction that foreshadowed the high point of the work, the middle section.
Finding the balance between melodic content and accompaniment is a constant struggle for both performers and composers. The traditional expectations of music written for the piano stretch from the works of Bach and Chopin to Prokofiev and beyond. Much music for the piano can be so different as far as texture and content yet successful music always has much more in common than differences due to time periods and external influences of the composer. all music needs to reflect the culture and time that it was written. I still sense the opening section should be on the quick side. The middle section should be developed not by tempo changes. but by dynamic nuances. The success of this work should be judged by the "sublime" and attention given to the quiet moments. Alas, a composer's vision of looking at the music from the inside out, never to be happy and always just an afterthought to the original moment of the inspiration.
Timothy Brown, August 18th, 2018