TUESDAY, May 4, 2021 – 10:52 AM
Adagio from the Gayne Ballet Suite: Katchaturian
This is my transcription. It’s not exactly what the composer wrote, because he wrote this for orchestra, and with orchestra you have unlimited tone color. With piano you only have only 88 keys. That is the limitation, but also the challenge and in some cases the magic.
Many years ago I went to see 2001, A Space “Odyssey”. There is a scene where Dave, the main human character, is running on an artificial track in a space station. The track is circular and the gravity comes from the spin of the module. He is all alone in space, and the music from Katchaturian plays, unedited or cut. I remember hearing that and thinking: “Wow! That’s a few minutes of some of the most haunting music I’ve ever heard.”
Decades I’m still in awe of this music. Now more than any time in the past I realize that movie sound tracks, 20th century “traditional” music and what we are hearing now, especially in computer game music and anime are amazing similar in chord structure, feel and structure. I’m also more and more positive that this is the real direction music is going in now. It’s smaller, intensely personal and things all of us can do in the quiet of night. It seems to me that many of us are empowered in a way we have never been before to create and then put it out into the world.
Bach Goldberg Variations: No. 25
This is not only my favorite variation of the whole set but what I think is one of the greatest chromatic compositions of JS Bach. In this he used his whole bag of tricks.
The form is basically in two parts, but although they are marked to be merely repeated, it is my belief that in that time period performers always added things during the repeats, so that’s what I did.
In addition, the B part is so complicated that it predates “sonata allegro” form because there is a true development section before the beginning parts returns. This makes the form – as well as the chromaticism – absolutely mind-boggling.