Music Composers Unite!
Here is a link to the performance by Michael Kieran Harvey (one of Australia's greatest living pianists), performing my piano piece Audacious Binary Forms.
The piece received the prize in Australia's most prestigious biennial piano composition competition, the Jean Bogan Prize for Piano Composition 2016. The piece was performed on November 5th, 2017.
Here is a scan of the first page introduction. The piece, if played in full could last up to 40 minutes, or if played in minimalist form could last for 10 seconds, and there are plenty of options in between :)
The piece is an organic work, which will continue to grow. Each time the piece is performed, a new structure will be added to the piece, and the structure will dedicated to the pianist playing the work.
This is the first serious work I have written in 40 years = crikey. Looking back at my Piano Piece 1 (good title eh :), composed 40 years ago, there is a continuation of ideas in this piece, but this piece is much more mature.
My hope is that the next performance will be an American premiere, hint, hint, for either one or two pianists. If you know of any concert pianists who might like to play the piece, you might be kind enough to put them in contact with me. Thank you. I have zero contacts in the musical area, except now for this group of musicians here, having been out of the musical arena for over 35 years. But life begins at 70, and I want to get back to serious composing prestissimo :)
Here is the link to the video which I have just uploaded. The quality is not excellent because the world premiere was streamed and FB reduces the quality which is streamed. I have added a page of each structure (notated music) to the video so that you can see and hear what is happening.
Best wishes of course and keep on composing.
seeya back here for comments.
hooroo for now.
Congratulations Paul on a terrific achievement.
I listened to the whole 30 odd minutes and enjoyed most of it. An eclectic mix of gravitas and madness with crazy juxtapositions of style. I did find the wide aesthetic range a little jarring, but managed to stay receptive to whatever came next, although I didn't go for the boogie ending.
Care to tell us about some of the organising principles behind the more dissonant pieces, were there serial manipulations or was it free atonality, or some other technical organisation?
Well done again Paul.
Thank you for taking the time to listen to my composition and give some valuable observations. Much appreciated. Yes indeed your observations are spot on. There is madness in the piece as well as a great deal of calmness and gentleness with the Twinkle Variations. I was aiming for a total binary approach; two complete opposites in style, hence the black and white mask, and I hope I managed without going overboard.
I can't stand noise, and I am very sensitive to high pitched sounds, as I am in the process of doing a Beethoven! I didn't like the spot in the Percussion section where Michael scraped the higher strings on the piano, but there you go; that was just my musical tastes being jarred. Incidentally I like that you found the piece a little jarring = good :) Michael went to town on the boogie ending adding his own improvisation. I absolutely loved how he played the last chord so softly to end the performance; so subtle.
In hearing the piece as opposed to composing the piece, I found the three notes descending at the end of Section D, where Michael conducts, as being totally inappropriate and out of keeping with this particular Structure. I will remove it in the new edition.
Michael Kieran Harvey who played the pieced decided to take the Performer's Option, and as such I had almost zero input into the way that Michael performed and structured the piece. We did correspond by email a few times. He requested permission to play from the music and not from memory. He had just finished a Phd in music only days before the performance, and was exhausted, although I don't think you would know that from the performance :) He flew up on the day to perform, which was a five hour flight to get to the concert hall!
I haven't really answered your questions yet Mike, and will get around to do that in my next post here.
I visited your website. What can I say, but you are a master craftsman and a very gifted composer. I am gobsmacked at the amount of music you have composed. Bravo. I will have another look again when I have time. Incidentally, I tried to contact you at your site, but got an error message that I couldn't have access. Might be something to do with my setup, or might be something to do from your website. Great website by the way.
Keep up the great work Mike. Best wishes to you and your family, and seeya here again when I finally answer your specific questions :)
Thanks Paul, very kind of you. PM me if you want to talk, my website contact form needs sorting out - it wasn't your fault..:-)
Your pianist was amazing. I too did not go for the percussion section, but really enjoyed the more 'serious' sections. Of course, now I get it with the mask and the word 'binary'...duuurrrr. I realise it was part of your concept, but I didn't need the theatrics, I've never been a fan of extraneous elements in concert music...too stuck in my ways I guess.
As a result of your success, do you think there may be a recording of the work or even more commissions?
Thank you for the offer of a PM. I certainly do have some questions if I may, and will PM you in a day or so.
I am glad that you recognized and appreciated the skill of Michael's playing. Yes, indeed amazing is the key word.
Hey Mike, don't worry about durring with the word binary. A few others have missed out on my meaning there :)
Regarding the musical theatre aspect of the piece, this piece is very much musical theatre, and will become more so when the piece grows with more Structures being added. I think there needs to be extreme care with musical theatre. If the music itself (sounds) ain't good, then no amount of visual gestures, and calisthenics will improve the music at all. I feel that this is perhaps a problem with some music that has a lot of musical theatre content. It may be a cheap way of composing music to impress perhaps a not so musically knowledgeable audience. What do you reckon?
I have listened to the music without the visuals, and feel that it has merit as just a piano piece. There are a few spots that would have to be cut out if a CD was made.
Yes indeedy, I do hope that there will be a recording made. There is a very good company in the State that we live, not that far away from where we live actually, that produces CD's of music of lesser known Australian composers (that's me alright) :). They also produce classical music. They do short run stuff. Michael Kieran Harvey has been recorded by them. I have two of his CD's plus the sheet music, and boy oh boy, talk about difficult piano music. He is a great pianist and a great composer to boot.
With the Audacious Binary Forms piece, some of the Structures for example F1 and F2, are extremely difficult technically, especially where the music is precisely notated = no cheating allowed :) Michael played the notes correctly :) When I knew that I had won the prize, the adjudicators needed to find a pianist good enough to play the piece well. In my humble opinion there would be only about three concert pianists in Australia who could have come near to playing the piece up to par. My first choice would have been Michael, but of course I had no say in the choice of pianist.
Regarding getting commissions, yes that is certainly a plan that I do have, but first I have to become more prolific in entering music. I will be concentrating on piano compositions for a long time, as I have a lot to say. My mind is abuzz with tons of ideas, a bit like Wolfie :) but no good if the music is only in my head. Have to get the music typeset :) My plans at the moment are to get more performances of Audacious Binary Forms (with added Structures each time it is performed), and also enter some piano composition competitions where there are either prizes or just performances.
Hmm, I haven't even answered your first questions = oops. I will answer soon.