Piano Concerto Dreamscapes (2009), 25 minutes
Instrumentation: piano solo; 1-1-1-1; 1-1-1; 2 perc; strings
Premiere: Nov. 19th and 20th, 2009; Le Poisson Rouge, New York, NY; Jenny Lin, piano, Metropolis Ensemble with Andrew Cyr, conductor. Commissioned by Metropolis Ensemble through the DeRosa Family Fund. Entire work released 2012 by Metropolis Ensemble on the Naxos Canadian Classics Label with Conor Hanick, piano, and Andrew Cyr, conductor.
(Performed without pause)
The sights and sounds of Bali haunt my dreams. The mist covering lush rice paddies at dawn, a symphony of birds chirping, and one fateful dewy morning in Bali, Indonesia when I visited Goa Gajah – the Elephant Cave Temple. That early summer morning, I descended a few flights of steep steps carved out of stone and found myself in the middle of a jungle with a natural waterfall and lotus ponds. Barefoot, in silence, I absorbed the force of my surroundings finding myself in the state of a powerful spiritual awakening. I felt I had become one with nature. The myriad encounters of Bali and the unknowable recesses of my own mind resolved into a tranquil state of balance.
This piano concerto is inspired by my experiences in Bali. Its themes pay homage to portions of the gamelan gong kebyar-style work Ujan Mas, and a composition for legong dance. To anyone familiar with the music of the Ubud region of Bali, the spiky, syncopated rhythms, sudden tempo changes, and exotic scales in the concerto may seem familiar. Although I have quoted from traditional Balinese sources, I am not recreating traditional works. I have internalized the shimmering harmonies and interlocking rhythms of Balinese traditions tounleash an original process; traditional sources act as catalysts for my voice emerging from theshifting kaleidoscopeof my own multicultural identity.
The work is a series of “Vignettes” that are all to be played without pause. The concerto is meant as a single movement work that has many different scenes. It begins with selected musicians in the audience blowing bird whistles that were purchased for the premiere from a street vendor in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The prologue gradually builds into the First Vignette, fast and relentless with gamelan-like interlocking rhythms. The Second Vignette takes my earlier solo prepared piano work Kotekan, written for pianist Jenny Lin, and greatly expands on it. The Third Vignette brings a temporary relief from the fast tempi of the first two, and presents a beautiful singing part for the piano. Around the solo, the orchestra weaves in and out with dream-like chords and whispers. The Fourth Vignette sounds suddenly and recaps previously heard themes and musical material. The postlude brings a calm ending, but includes some surprise sonorities at the very end of the score.
Get our latest update via email
You can purchase or rent my music at Bill Holab Music
For general inquiries, just click below!CONTACT US