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Surfaces (2016)

for solo piano
commissioned by the Shriver Hall Concert Series for Roman Rabinovich

Surfaces for piano is written for pianist and visual artist Roman Rabinovich and is inspired by a series of four of his paintings with the same title. I met Roman at the Ravinia Festival in the summer of 2008, and we immediately became great friends and musical comrades. I was struck by his multi-faceted artistic talents and the idea of my writing a piece for him based on his own paintings had been brewing for some time.

Roman’s four paintings are closely related to one another visually and thematically, and similarly my work is cast in four movements, performed together without any pause between them. Before starting to compose, I spent a lot of time analyzing and studying Roman’s Surfaces, digesting its essence and finding interesting links uniting the series together. Inspired by the concept of thematic unity, the first movement of my Surfaces presents recurring pitches and gestures that develop and transform throughout the entire composition. Two or more voices often play the same material in imitation, resulting in canons that resurface throughout. This idea comes directly from Roman’s paintings where I see different yet related brush strokes, layered on top of each other and presented simultaneously. 

The first movement of Surfaces features a hushed sonority that fades away into the distance, while the contrasting second employs a crisper and spiky texture at a brisk tempo. Towards the end of this movement, new musical material emerges, leading into the static third movement marked by a series of repeated staccato chords. An insistent triplet motive then appears and propels the music into the final movement, where all the main themes are reprised, transformed and presented anew.

Surfaces was commissioned by the Shriver Hall Concert Series, made possible by the David and Barbara Rodbell Kornbatt Commissioning Fund. It will be premiered by Roman Rabinovich at Lincoln Center's Great Performers series on April 3, 2016 and in Shriver Hall in Baltimore on September 24, 2016.

Surfaces I

Surfaces II

Surfaces III

Surfaces IV

 
Listen & Watch

Roman Rabinovich plays Michael Brown "Surfaces"
Surfaces was commissioned by the Shriver Hall Concert Series, made possible by the David and Barbara Rodbell Kornbatt Commissioning Fund. It will be premiered by Roman Rabinovich at Lincoln Center's Great Performers series on April 3, 2016 and in Shriver Hall in Baltimore on September 24, 2016.

 

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