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After I composed Hammerheads for double piano duet in 2008, I immediately embarked on a set of three contrasting pieces for the same combination. There were some musical ideas existing from the earlier work that I wanted to explore further.
The first piece March-Scherzo contrasts a march-like rhythm in duple metre with a spiky, scherzando style in triple time. This is similar to the late 16th century way of contrasting duple time with a faster triple time in instrumental pieces particularly those of the Venetian school of composers headed by the Gabrielis.
The second piece Kokakos at Dawn is an evocative musical commentary on the first piece of my For the Kokako set of five pieces composed in 1978 which was based on the bird call of a single kokako. Each pianist silently depresses four keys thus allowing the harmonics of each played note to resonate.
Nelsonian Riffs is a light hearted piece based on a repeated rhythmic pattern and interrupted by some skittish delights. Here the pianists let ‘their hair down’!
2. Kokakos at Dawn
3. Nelsonian Riffs