Gymnopédie (2010) for Fixed Media
As a pianist and a composer, the repertoire I encounter in my piano practice often weaves its way into the pieces I compose. When I first began learning the Gymnopédies of Erik Satie many years ago, they left a lasting impression on me that continues to grow. Their delicate gestures and short forms have had a huge impact subconsciously on my style, and in this particular piece I deliberately took an active role in allowing them to guide my compositional process.
The piece begins slowly, almost unsure of itself, filling the silence with the opening harmony. This harmony becomes the foundation of the piece, constantly working itself out and growing in the process. I have this picture in my mind of this harmonic cell blossoming and opening up like a flower as we work towards the end of the piece. This idea of the harmony “blossoming” is echoed as the work progresses by the small movements and articulations of the bells, singing bowls, and gamelan.
What I hope to have created in the end is a small and delicate piece of music- both serene and slightly eccentric- that whispers into the listener’s ear similar to the way that the Gymnopedies of Satie whispered in mine many years ago.