Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Etude # 7: "I flew as in a dream..." by Scott Pender



This beautiful etude--the final of Scott Pender's collection--is a lush, sweeping, utterly romantic and soaring piece.  It's also technically challenging, which is why I worked harder on this one than any of Scott's other Etudes.  It's difficult, but it needs to sound as effortless as breathing.

In his performance notes, Scott writes that the title is a line from Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. "I feel it captures the spirit of this etude," Scott writes, "perhaps my favorite of the set. The romantic middle section elaborates on the lyrical theme first heard in the fourth Etude.  I feel strong echoes of Chopin and Rachmaninov in this concluding piece."

As one raised on Romantic piano music and Victorian novels, this Etude has become one of my favorites as well.

To order the music:

http://scottpender.net/

Monday, September 11, 2017

Etude # 4: The Devil's Escalator by Scott Pender



Big leaps, thorny rhythms, breakneck speeds and huge dynamics--yup, everything you'd expect Satan's escalator to be.  It's also one of those pieces that offers ample room for theatrics and a few non-scripted tempo changes because, if it's devilish, you can't just follow all the rules...

According to Scott's notes, the title is an homage to Ligeti's fiendishly difficult etude, "The Devil's Staircase."  And, he suggests, "wouldn't it be just a little easier to have an escalator, even if it occasionally starts and stops, reverses, or collapses like in the cartoons?"

This performance was an informal one, filmed by my friend Bob Wall, in my home.  I've also performed it in concert; it brought the house down.

To order a copy, visit Scott's website:  http://scottpender.net/