Nocturnals for piano

(2001) 16'

for Susan Nowicki

Program note

Nocturnals for solo piano is one of a number of my pieces concerned with the experience of night; in this case, including the passage into and out of night. The first of the three continuous movements (song: evening), in a kind of strophic form, portrays an evening in New Hampshire at the MacDowell Colony where it was composed. The movement ends with a representation of the serenely beautiful hermit thrush song that is heard at the fading of day. The second movement (incantation: twilight), a fantasia, explores the disquietude of the transition into night, twilight being personified as a kind of sorcerer or conjurer calling forth the spirits of night. The last movement (spirits: night), a toccata, is a moto perpetuo of intense play, the frolicking malevolence of spirits, shadows and phantoms that ends with the dispelling songs of pre-dawn birds. Nocturnals was composed for my wife, pianist Susan Nowicki and was premiered by her at the Dorothy Taubman Piano Festival, Williams College, Williamstown MA in July 2002.

Scroll Up