Updated: Mar 8, 2020
I'm looking forward to performing this new work with Mila Filatova at a music festival later this year in New England. I thought I'd spend a little time today about the process of writing ensemble music. I like to begin piano ensemble works as an orchestration. Two systems at one time usually away from the piano. The first draft does not take collisions or editing concerns into consideration, It must represent a pure world of sound and possibilities. I'm always keeping in the back of my mind the importance of "balance" between parts. and especially the range of the primo part. Each part must represent an orchestral instrument in my imagination and be crafted as such.
Musical form has and always will be the most difficult aspect of my writing. It does not become easier, unfortunately. It is always a struggle as it should be.
Now the difficult work begins~ at the piano
The first playing of any ensemble work is always a tremendous disappointment. It is the moment where imagination meets the cold road to reality. My wife immediately sees the work in a totally different context. The world of two pianists sitting at the piano with the goals now being placed on performing and the understanding of the music. Draft after draft is required as slowly the editing process refines the details inherent in the score. The use of pedal, fingerings, voicing, and consistency at so many levels comes into play during this time of the process.
And now the moment of "engraving" begins, a silent art that has grown and matured over hundreds of years. Next artists and additional editors add beauty to the written page in so many unforeseen ways. So many talented colleagues now raise the level of my original intent higher than I could have ever imagined. A work of art that will be looked at in many different ways hopefully for many years to come. A special next step when the music leaves my control and the work takes on a life of its own.
And then its time to start the process all over again..........