Three Sky Studies

  1. Chant-cris
  2. Notturno/Abschiedslied I
  3. Aubade/Abschiedslied II

Three Sky Studies, for solo piano, were composed over the course of 2009, with ‘Chant-cris’, a virtuosic scattering of notes inspired by birdsong and Elliott Carter’s Caténaires, acting as a kind of short prelude to the second and third movements, which were written with pianist friends in mind. The first and last movements were workshopped by Richard Casey in December 2009.

‘Notturno/Abschiedslied I’ was written for Theo Vidgen. It is made up almost entirely of quiet, pulsating dyads and occasional flurries at the top of the piano’s range — an abstracted memory of cicadas shaking in the still summer air, light vanishing around the earth’s curve, Schoenberg op. 19, no. 2, Sciarrino’s Notturni, leaf-cast shadow and, between the windows of the sea, dusk-lit figures gathering left-over light. This movement was premiered on 26 November 2009 by Olivia Jageurs as part of the New Music North West Festival (23-27 November) in a concert celebrating Peter Maxwell Davies’s new role as patron of Manchester University Music Society.

The final movement, ‘Aubade/Abschiedslied II’, was written for Yu Su and, after several early mornings sitting by the duck pond in my local park, was influenced by the warmth and unfolding colour of dawn.