Rhapsody for solo piano

Solo piano

Grade 5–6 minutes

Composed for my graduate composition recital, and premiered by Yoonji Kim, December 7, 2009 at the Harris Theater, George Mason University.

It seems I fall into this trap every few years: I am asked to write a piece for a small group and I think to myself it will be easier than writing for a large one.

I find composing for smaller groups to be extremely difficult, as they are unforgiving at hiding poorly-written individual parts.  In the case of solo piano, I underestimated the difficulty because, although I play piano, I tend to use it as a tool rather than an instrument.  It was also a challenge to have a less-varied color palette at my disposal.  The piano is capable of many effects and textures, but simply lacks the grand scope of a wind ensemble or orchestra.

Still, I’m pleased with the way the piece turned out.  It is a quite lyrical and Romantic-sounding piece.  The influence of Brahms is readily apparent, especially in my use of twos versus threes.

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