By Lewis Spratlan | For Solo Piano | 13′
Title: Piano Suite No. 1
Composer: Lewis Spratlan
Year Composed: 2021
Instrumentation: Solo Piano
Catalog Number: OM0451
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From the composer:
This collection reinvents staples from the Baroque suite in today’s language. It was composed for Nadia Shpachenko during April and May, 2021.
Capriccio takes off from the energy and whimsy of the caprice, but falls into two distinct kinds of music. The first, marked “Frantic,” is just that, mainly a single voice with very little accompaniment that plunges or rises single-mindedly. The second, marked “Lento,” is multi-voiced, contrapuntal, and contemplative. These alternate throughout until the very end, where the frantic music prevails.
Dirge opens with a mournful three-bar bass melody that is reiterated several times with various treble accompaniments, each time a semi-tone higher. The melody is then expanded to include treble-register statements. It is then broken into staccato fragments that eventually cohere into a sustained ostinato, which then yields to a lyrical and highly contrapuntal presentation that exhausts itself before a concluding double statement of the original three-bar melody.
In Pastorale, whimsy takes center-stage in the lilting 6/8 of the traditional pastorale. The texture is stubbornly two-voiced throughout the first two sections, and even into the contrasting quicker third section. The opening is then briefly reinvoked before yielding to a gauzy variation on a part of the first music. The concluding page is a decorated mixture of all of the previous music, leading to a loud hiccup at the end.
Commission/Dedication: Composed for and dedicated to Nadia Shpachenko.
Premiere: Premiered at BargeMusic in Brooklyn, NY on June 17, 2022 by Nadia Shpachenko.
Recording: Recording: This work is recorded on an all-Spratlan Reference Recordings album, Invasion: Music and Art for Ukraine, performed by Nadia Shpachenko. For all listening options, click HERE.