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Op. 15 - Five Pieces

for Solo Piano

(2009/2013)

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Program Notes: Five Pieces for Solo Piano, Op. 15 is a very personal work for me. It represents the culmination of my understanding of the concert grand piano. Through intense study of how composers developed the instrument since its creation and the technical advancement of performers, this cycle explores the full emotional range of the keyboard. The first, Etude in Octaves, is not simply a study in playing octaves, instead, it uses the interval as a springboard for melodic invention and accompanimental figures. An energetic opening gives way to a slower development section which quickly comes to a dramatic head, ushering in a recapitulation of the opening material in a more powerful voice. The second piece, Allegro Appassionato, begins with a chromatic descent into a slow, lush theme that anchors the entire work and appears throughout in various guises. A fantasy in form, the piece develops new sections regularly and character changes unfold rapidly – all with the opening thematic material at its core. The Burlesque opens with a seductive and sinuous right hand theme while the accompaniment keeps up with syncopated chords. After dancing around irregular rhythmic patterns, a diminished descent allows room to breathe, briefly, into a harmonically instable slow section. This quickly grows into perhaps the most brutal music of the entire cycle before dying away and allowing a sense of reprise – just before the recapitulation of the opening material, pushing the performer to the height of their virtuosity. The Fughetta on Monk’s ‘Well You Needn’t’ is an homage to the jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk. Playing very fast and loose with fugal elements, I attempted to fuse Monk’s unique and quirky harmonic and rhythmic trademarks with my own language into a short and fun piece. The final piece, Theme & Variations, is based on an old original theme in B-Flat Minor. After travelling through many harmonic centers [including E-Flat Major, F Minor, B-Flat Major, among others] and several character changes [including a Tango, a Ragged Waltz and Maestoso, among others] the piece ends in a fury with an ecstatic coda and a definitive conclusion.

Performance History:

-October 5th, 2011; No. 5 - Music at MiMoDa – Paper or Plastik Cafe; West Los Angeles, California – 8PM

-October 16th, 2011; No. 5 - Senekeremian in Concert; Presbyterian Church; Glendale, California – 7:30PM

-November 22nd, 2011; No. 5 – M3 Classical @ ATX Kitchen; Atwater Village, California – 8PM

-April 20th, 2012; No. 5 – Hayfield Concert Society; Hayfield, Derbyshire, England– ??PM

-December 17th, 2012 – Stratigou Recital; An-Art Artistry; Athens, Greece - 8PM

-November 8th, 2013; No. 5 – SUNY Oswego Alumni Recital - ??? ; Shanghai, China

-November 23rd, 2013; No. 5 – LaVeck Concert Series; Pulaski Congregational Church; Pulaski, New York 

-November 24th, 2013; No. 5 – Faculty Recital; SUNY Oswego; Sheldon Ballroom; Oswego, New York – 2PM

-March 30th, 2014; Nos. 1, 2 & 3 – Stratigou Recital; An-Art Artistry; Athens, Greece - 8PM

-May 13th, 2015; No. 5 - Music at MiMoDa – Paper or Plastik Cafe; West Los Angeles, California – 8PM

-May 16th, 2015; No. 5 - Senekeremian in Beverly Hills; Frankel Hall; Beverly Hills, California – 8PM

-May 30th, 2015; No. 5 – Senekeremian in Concert; St. Mark's Episcopal Church; Glendale, California - 8PM

-June 11th, 2015; No. 5 – Senekeremian in Concert; Aram Khachaturian Museum Hall; Yerevan, Armenia

-June 12th, 2015; No. 5 – Senekeremian in Concert; Aram Khachaturian Museum Hall; Yerevan, Armenia

-October 28th, 2016; No. 5 – Faculty Showcase; SUNY Oswego; Choral Hall; Oswego, New York – 4PM

-November 20th, 2016; No. 5 - Benefit Recital; Glendale Presbyterian Church; Glendale, California – 4PM

-January 28th, 2017; No. 1 - Satellite Salon-Composition Conjuring; University of S. Utah; Thorley Hall; Cedar City, UT – 7:30PM

I. Etude in Octaves

Maria Stratigou, Piano

II. Allegro Appassionato

Maria Stratigou, Piano

IV. Fughetta on Monk's 'well you needn't'

Maria Stratigou, Piano

V. Theme and Variations

Harout Senekeremian, Piano

George N. Gianopoulos

composer