Chapter Two

solo piano

Duration 9’
Instrumentation piano
First Performance Mercury Ruling and Herbie’s Funfare: 6 November 2015, Burgh House and Hampstead Museum; Annie Yim. A Hundred Monkeys: 28 August 2016, West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge; Olivia Macrae

Chapter Two is a collection of four pieces, written as gifts for various friends to celebrate the births of their children, the second in a series of collected piano pieces. Exploring the piano in various ways, the pieces are intended to be played by children and adults alike. By chance, each of the four children that these pieces were written for were born in either air or fire zodiac signs. I took characteristics from each sign to inspire the corresponding pieces.

Mercury Ruling
Written for Sebastian Charlie Reeve, whose zodiac sign is Gemini. An ultimate calmness feeds the piece, mysterious and flowing. The simple melody passes from right hand to left, over the continuous accompaniment pattern. The notes are derived from the letters in his Sebastian’s name.

Herbie’s Funfare
A fearless fanfare also finds its qualities in Herbie’s zodiac sign, Sagittarius. A live free improvisation by Herbie Hancock, opening Cantaloupe Island, also hugely inspired the piece. The principal theme is in fact a quote from his improvisation and this drives my composition. Herbie’s Funfare is filled with energy and determination.

A Hundred Monkeys
The witty and mischievous nature of A Hundred Monkeys is fitting for Evelyn, who is already 20 months old at time of writing. Independence and intellect were characteristics taken from her zodiac sign, Aquarius, to inspire the piece.

Pudding and Pie
A rather imposing little piece! Its fast and fiery nature stems again from the zodiac inspiration, (George is a Leo), but it seems that the English nursery rhyme ‘Georgie Porgie Pudding and Pie…’ impacted the character of the piece more so, which is stocky yet playful.