ae52—Cascade-for Two Pianos

ae52—Cascade-for Two Pianos

...a veritable Niagara of notes brought to vibrant life in an iridescent reading by the Pridonoffs, who reveal the melodic nuggets underlying the technical torrents.
—Ralph Lockwood on
“Cascade (for two pianos) is a substantial work... effective... incisive... hauntingly beautiful...”
— Fanfare Magazine (Apr 06, 2012)

Cascade was written in response to a request for a new work from the extraordinary Pridonoff Duo. As I began to think about the work the idea of piano resonance started to capture my imagination. I began to think about this awesome ‘glow’ of sound that occurs after the keys are struck and how these waves of sound – lustrous, velvety pools of resonance – hang in the air. I began to think of these sounds as clouds or water and the various forms these take in the natural world. This, in turn, led me to reflect on the endlessly varied forms of water or cloud that inspired the three movement titles: drift echo, waves and torrent. I then began to think about the unique qualities of the superb performers for whom I had the privilege to write this work. I began to think about their immaculate, crisp, articulate technique and their deep and passionate emotionalism that so permeates their music making.

Into this creative amalgam of ideas also was the type of work the Pridonoffs and I had discussed: a multimovement work of around 20 minutes. I thought of this in a traditional fast–slow–fast arrangement of movements since I wanted to honor their amazing technical prowess in the outer movements and have these surround a central, expressive, somewhat darker middle movement.

Cascade also is about interplay: the interplay of two commanding performers as they each, in turn, take on the various themes and ideas of the piece. It is also about interplay between performers and the audience. I think performers and composers alike seek to provide the audience with a great concert experience that is visceral, emotional, dramatic, impressive and colorful. Without the composers commitment to this end the performers are somewhat hamstrung. I thus hope that I have provided the raw materials, as it were, for impressive performers to work their concert magic.

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