Instrumentation: Solo Piano
Duration: 10 mins.
Premiered by Joanne Pierce Martin, South Bay Chamber Music Society on November 22, 2013
Commissioned by Joanne Pierce Martin
D’Nato (2013), a fantasy for solo piano, was written for Joanne Pearce Martin. The title is a play on the word “ostinato” and in this case, an ostinato on D natural, a whole step above middle C. Not only is it at the center of the pitch structure of the piece, but physically for the performer, it is also at the center of the piano. This “ostinato on D” is the focal point for all material expanding in both directions. Continuously woven throughout in different states, the “D” is introduced right at the opening as a quick flickering rhythm, setting up the illusion of a constant motif. It is described in the score as a quick irregular repetition, to be played as if a “broken tremolo”. The “tremolo” speed varies in shape and design, sometimes in the forefront and at other times, latent – in oscillation with other material that causes friction, uncertainty, and ultimately, a sense of continuity from one sound to the next. Gestures that spin out of the ostinato are absorbed and released, heightening the tension and the movement between sections. The overall form considers all elements of producing sound, including the use of extreme registers, pedaling techniques, as well as varied attacks. Like the inner existence of sound, the material is made up of contrasting elements – quick, soft, aggressive etc., all in varying lengths overlapping each other, used to define the contrasting sections. Layering different material, rather than always fully developing them, achieves a sense of improvised “quasi fantasia” character. This questions the meaning of time, often perceived as uncertain and disassociated, but always vibrating in space around a fixed point.