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Fancy Work

for piano

Year:  1994

Year:  1994

Bruce Baker

Composer:   Bruce Baker

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Score

Sample: Page 1 from 'A Touch of Paradise'

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This piece was written after a visit to friends Seng Poh Lee and Gary Martin, to whom the piece is dedicated.

A Touch of Paradise is the slogan of the real estate company for which Seng Poh works, and the piece tries to capture the peaceful serenity of the harbour-edge properties for sale. The property in which the couple live is accessed by a deeply-rutted drive, and after its gentle beginning the music has a rather bumpy ride. In fact, visits to the property are infrequent, as the couple are very busy people, and so the tick-tock of the clock becomes quite insistent as the music progresses.

Be Natural – It is sometimes thought that jazz and "classical" ("art") music live in different worlds, and do not mix. Composer George Gershwin showed that this is not true. Here is a piece in standard ternary form, embodying traditional devices like sequence and hemiola, but clothed in syncopated rhythms and seventh chords typical of jazz music. It is hoped that such a style will feel natural for jazz and classical pianists alike.

Chatterbox – This piece also reflects some influence from jazz, with some syncopation and an ambiguous major/minor tonality. There is an element of informal speech, arising from the irregular rhythms and phrase lengths, and the frequent change of time signatures. The staccato quavers suggest that the words are falling over themselves in hurry to get out of the speaker"s mouth. In the middle section the chatter becomes quite a drone. This drone hints at the presence of a musette, giving the piece something of an antique quality. The presence of minor sevenths gives a modal feeling which suggests the renaissance. The piece is dedicated to Kate McKinney and Kushlin Higgie, piano students who are themselves able composers.

The Haul of the Great Fish – In Maori legend the North Island is a great fish, hauled from the deep by fisherman Maui. In this piece Maui struggles to raise the monster from the deep, and the rippling arpeggios, broken by sudden snags, testify to the difficulty of the task. The rising melody in the treble indicates that the effort bears some success, and the strong C major chord at the end signifies that the labour is complete.

Dedication note

For Seng Poh and Gary, Kate McKinney and Kushlin Higgie

Contents note

A Touch of Paradise
Be Natural
The Haul of the Great Fish

Performance history

06 Feb 1997: Performed by Geoffrey Hinds (piano) at St Barnabas Anglican Church, Mt Eden, Auckland

26 May 2007: Performed by Geoffrey Hinds (piano) at St David's Presbyterian Church, Khyber Pass, Auckland

08 Oct 2011: Performed by Geoffrey Hinds (piano) at St Barnabas Anglican Church, Mt Eden, Auckland

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