Track four from Ryan Francis's complete piano music performed by Vicky Chow
Thursday, April 28, 2011
On this specially curated week of Hammered! we spotlight a new album of piano music by New York-based composer Ryan Anthony Francis. The record features Bang On A Can pianist Vicky Chow, who, with Francis, joins Hammered! throughout the week with insights on this exquisite new body of piano music.
◦ Tune in at the top of the 11 am/pm hour Monday through Thursday for single works from the album with introductions to each piece by Francis. On Friday we'll offer a full audition of the album en total.
◦ The remainder of each day is filled with works specifically chosen by Francis that complement each of his piano pieces. Read Francis's daily programatic walk-through below, along with more detailed notes on his own music.
◦ We'll also feature additional performances at the end of each program by pianistic powerhouse Vicky Chow of brand new piano works by Andy Akiho, Evan Ziporyn, Eliot Britton and Daniel Wohl.
Thursday: Moonlight Fantasy (2001)
Moonlight Fantasy started as a playground for me to explore some of my favorite piano repertoire, and I essentially wanted to gathered the influences that these extreme and beautiful pieces had on me and mix them in a blender.
Henri Dutilleux’s Prelude Jeux de Contraires can be heard in the glassy surfaces and resonant textures of the Fantasy's first movement, "Evocation." Frederic Chopin makes an appearance in a passage titled *shock* “Nocturne.” Harrison Birtwistle’s Harrison’s Clocks makes its presence felt in the unrelenting mechanical chirping of “Night Creatures.” Karol Szymanowski’s incredibly strange and brilliant post-impressionist tryptic Metopes is felt in the final movement “Reverie.” And of course, Maurice Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit’s presence can be felt generally throughout the piece, and in the wrist-flicking arabesque that ends the piece on a note of uncertainty.
The challenge and thrill of composing Moonlight Fantasy piece was threading all of those points of inspiration together into a coherent, pulse-raising narrative.