Night Music

Genre: Keyboard: piano solo with electronics


Description: A work for solo piano and electronics in three movements - by turns lyrical and dissonant, reflecting on silent archive moving images from the Imperial War Museum's film archive
Duration: 17 minutes
Date: 2015

Programme Note

Night Music follows Dark Formations (2010), a composition for chamber ensemble and still images in collaboration with Professor David Chandler and the late Roger Tolson, Head of Art at the Imperial War Museum. The project reflects on the effects of the allied aerial campaign in World War II as recorded by RAF cameras. This second work responds to moving images, again drawn from the Imperial War Museum archives. The music can be performed as a concert piece, or with film. In the version with moving images, we cannot hear words or sounds because the footage is silent; the piano's melodies perhaps take their place. Night Music is in three parts.

Part 1 – Flowing – The piece is largely governed by a 5/8 metre. The melody at times floats freely over the bar lines to create an impression of eliding and shifting surfaces.
Part 2 – Machine song – This movement explores musical gestures of descent and ascent; tension between the music’s mechanistic and lyrical qualities; disruption as conflicting scales are brought together and complex harmonies are cross-cut with occasional moments of transparency.
Part 3 – Night toccata – A rapid study which explores the full range and registers of the piano, at times exploring some harmonies obsessively while at certain moments breaking through to passages of pure textures, rhythms and clusters.

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