Program notes

Three Pieces for Two Pianos, opus 1 (1980)

  1. 1. Fantasia – Larghetto
  2. 2. Gavotte – Vivo
  3. 3. Lullaby and Dance – Andante calmo

Three Pieces for Two Pianos was written in Brisbane in October-November 1979 and had its first performance in Melbourne at Melba Hall, the following year. It was awarded the Percy Brier Prize and is my first acknowledged work. The composition was subsequently slightly edited and revised in 2012 into its current form and has a duration of about 15 minutes.

The work is highly virtuosic in its demands of the players and explores rapidly changing sonorities and fast moving metrical rhythms within a playful and dramatic context. The first movement is a chorale fantasia on the Lutheran hymn, Christ lag in todesbanden (‘Christ lay be death enshrouded’); a chorale that J S Bach had used as the basis of one of his most memorable cantatas. The fast and lively second movement also takes as a starting point an existing piece of music – in this case a Gavotte movement from Francesco Veracini’s F# minor Violin Sonata.  The final movement contrasts a Lullaby with various dance-like episodes, some again ironically recalling other pieces of music.

Coming to the piece again in 2012 I can see a lot of my earlier interests have stuck with me but, with regard to the third piece (Lullaby and Dance), I think my somewhat percussive lullaby-writing as a 19 year old would probably not pass muster now in terms of actually getting a baby to sleep.

© Andrew Schultz, 2012.