Etudes for Piano
Composer: James Aikman
Year Composed: 1989
Duration: 10 minutes
Cost: Purchase: $25.00
Note: This work is in calligraphic rather than computer notation.
Etudes for Piano was written from August to November of 1989. It was begun in Aspen after my friend, the composer Peter Robles, played a
recording of Gyorgy Ligeti's Etudes. I also had the pleasure of working that summer with William Bocolm whose Etudes were certainly an
inspiration. I premiered the piece in December of 1989 at Indiana
University's Recital Hall.
Etudes is framed within an ABA' form. The plural nature of the title refers to the fact that the piece stresses the wide reach of a major ninth in a steady-state, machine-like rhythmic drive in the outer sections which are contrasted by trills and scalar flourishes that provide the accompaniment to the lyric melody of the interior section. The sixth
variation of Beethoven's Op. 109, III was the abstract model for the
middle section. In addition, the piece was also a compositional study,
one which features large-scale shifts of mood between its sections. While
the verbal indications in the score range in character from floating and
quasi-chorale to explosive and abruptly barbaric, these extremes are
nonetheless united by the fact that they share the same musical materials
that are expressed in the brief introduction. The piece is also,
objectively, fun to play.