Today the Brothers Balliett take a gander at three utterly unique piano pieces, each designed to honor a specific person or set of people. Toru Takemitsu's ethereal Litany for solo piano is a reworking of a very early piece, reshaped and crafted into an exquisite memorial for his friend Michael Vyner. Carson Cooman's Postcard Partita comprises a set of five distinct miniatures, each dedicated to a different friend in a different location – hence the appellation "postcards".
Peter Maxwell Davies takes Mozart as his initial inspiration for his mammoth Piano Concerto, but ends up with a hugely wide range of references, textures, and ideas, evoking everything from Scottish folk music to Sergei Rachmaninov. Written for Kathryn Stott, the piece is both an homage to the soloist's incredible virtuosity and to a pantheon of musical heroes that have shaped Mr. Maxwell Davies's musical style.
Three piano works – so different, but with the same impulse at their root: honor those that have made a difference in one's life.