By Lewis Spratlan | For Piano Solo | 16′

Title: Bangladesh
Composer: Lewis Spratlan
Year Composed: 2015
Instrumentation: For Solo Piano
Duration: 16′

Format: Full Score
Page Size: Letter
Catalog Number: OM0427

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From the composer:

The last episode of My Architect, Nathaniel Kahn’s film tribute to his father, the great architect Louis Kahn, takes place in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and features a brief interview with a local architect, wherein he extolls Kahn’s vision in creating the vast complex of buildings that comprise the National Assembly. He argues that Kahn’s work has given transformative hope and a sense of focus and purpose to his nation, otherwise an endless terrain of rice paddies. This piece is about Kahn’s government center and its unique power.

It consists of these five interlocking sections:
1. The people of Bangladesh. The energetic local music is evoked.
2. The buildings. They are of two main types, concrete and brick.
3. Water. The buildings seem to be floating on a lagoon, a projection of the country’s inseparability from water.
4. The people build the buildings. Swarms of laborers create visionary structures using the most primitive materials – bamboo scaffolding, concrete buckets made of straw.
5. The buildings in the nation. A contemplation of the buildings’ looming presence in the life of Bangladesh.

The opening music pervades the whole piece and provides the F# foundation on which it is built. This is the key of the people. Water is its opposite pole, C, the given of nature. The buildings oscillate around G and F, the pitches that surround F#, and bear a sturdy fifth relationship to C. Beyond these structural bases, the music floats freely, inspired always by Kahn’s towering edifice and its integrative force.

Commission/Dedication: Commissioned by Piano Spheres and dedicated to Nadia Shpachenko.
Premiere: First performed October 27, 2015 by Nadia Shpachenko at REDCAT, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles.
Recording: Recorded by Nadia Shpachenko on the album The Poetry of Places released by Reference Recordings. This album won the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Classical Compendium.

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