Today marks one year on earth for my youngest, our son Tijani. In the year of his birth I wrote a three-movement work for piano. The first two movements are presented here; the third will be posted at a later date (update: third movement).
As with the pieces written for Tijani’s older sisters Remi and Kenza, the music here is diatonic, in the key of C major/A minor throughout. I work with simple forms and materials to create something that is childlike, quotidian and yet abstract; composed systematically with a sensibility that wanders between intuitive and arbitrary.
“Son’s Light” is in two sections, the first built around a melodic idea in quintuple metre, and the second in triple metre. Both ideas are expressed as a sequence of changing harmonies on constant rhythmic patterns, punctuated with added tones and metric variations. The harmonies descend stepwise or move by fourths. It is the most triadic piece I’ve written since my pop song days.
“Lullaby” is a canon of overlapping broken chords in a set of progressions. Each voice in the canon has the range of a fourth. The chord voicings are slightly more sophisticated than in the previous movement, though still based on diatonic roots.
Happy birthday, dear Tijani!
Recorded 2015, Roland digital piano direct to file
Music and composer’s notes copyright Bruce A. Russell 2015