Seria Ludo: New Piano Music by Graham Lynch
Time & Location
About the Event
Paul Sánchez presents premiere performances of new piano music by Graham Lynch:
Absolute Inwardness (world premiere)
The Couperin Sketchbooks (U.S. premiere)
White Book 3 (world premiere)
Co-presented by the San Francisco International Piano Festival and the International Piano Series.
NOTES BY THE COMPOSER, GRAHAM LYNCH Absolute Inwardness was Hegel’s definition of the true content of Romanticism (‘infinite subjectivity’). This piece draws on elements of late romantic style, and fragments them until the work disintegrates into a constellation of ideas that look inwards. There are echoes of chorales, of late Brahms, and at the end the piece dissolves into a chord that covers the entire range of the piano. This work is something of a companion piece to The Couperin Sketchbooks, being its opposite in many respects. The Couperin Sketchbooks is about ten minutes long, and is made up of many short sections which have ‘Couperinesque’ titles, and share something of the spirit of Couperin’s music. In a number of places these fragments are linked by short passages from the Couperin ordres. The music moves seamlessly between the different styles, and passes through a wide range of moods and textures. The final bars of the piece are taken from the opening of a harpsichord piece Lynch wrote a number of years ago, Pastorale, which in itself was a response to the idea of the unmeasured prelude. White Book 3 is unified by the work of the artist Christopher le Brun, whose paintings and woodcuts have inspired these five pieces. The first three pieces of the set have surface qualities of colour and light, and move easily from one to the next. Seria Ludo has a playful, free-wheeling energy, spiced with syncopations and a devil-may-care attitude to every gesture that rushes past. The Hesperides tunes into the magical and enigmatic zone of imagery created by Le Brun’s painting of the same name, at times conjuring translucent harmonies from the piano that counterpoint the balanced tread of the opening and closing sections. And finally, Glow, where constantly shifting foreground rhythms are framed within a more regular, formal architectural structure. These pieces reveal Lynch’s predilection for the qualities of French music, but with The Rhine a new world opens out, one of a Northern European sensibility. This work is by far the longest of the set and the individual ideas are subordinated within the textures, sometimes breaking the surface of the music before falling back again - the abundance of the notes threatening to blur the distinction between line and decoration, dragging the music into the world of the unconscious. This is music of a much darker nature, its primal energy gathering weight as it moves towards a climax, before concluding, with a nod to the Wagnerian Rhine, on a series of hushed E flat chords. Before the last sounds have died away, the lustrous opening of Landscapes with Angels begins. This is the one piece in the set in which the title is not from a specific Le Brun painting, instead reflecting a number of his works, including the studies for the Parables at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral as well as ‘Travellers in a Landscape’. Angels walk among men, and the world is momentarily transformed by a heavenly presence.
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