for Piano (1998)
Duration: 8 minutes
Availability: For Sale
Premiere: May 1998, Cimanelli Lounge, Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY). Janelle Fung, piano.
I wrote my Partita in early 1998 when I was eighteen years old and searching for emotive, but syntactically convincing ways to expand my harmonic vocabulary. I enrolled in an Eighteenth Century counterpoint class at Eastman and David Liptak, my teacher at the time, suggested I apply my new found knowledge writing a contrapuntal work for solo piano that explored harmony by using my more developed sense of melody and line. He encouraged me to avoid slavishly imitating defunct styles and introduced me to the mildly apostate art known as “dissonant counterpoint.”
Partita is modeled on Baroque keyboard suites. Each of the three movements, Allemande, Sarabande and Corrente are named after traditional Seventeenth Century dances and are in binary form (two repeated sections). They use imitative counterpoint extensively, maintain a strict number of voices and, while harmonically aloof, they clearly begin and end on E-flat major chords preserving a sense of harmonic circularity that was important in the earlier genre. Harmonically, the intervallic content leads the lines, but triadic vertical harmonies result.