for solo piano(2021)
|Premiere||The first official cycle began Monday morning, November 15th, 2021 on the 92Y’s custom-designed Seven Days app recorded by pianist Pedja Muzijevic. The cycle will repeat each week indefinitely.|
|Technical requirements||In addition to its existence as a downloadable app, the full collection may also be performed live as an evening length work. Pianists may also treat movements as separate pieces to be played independently or combine them into a smaller collection. Pianists may also program single days (i.e. Monday, Tuesday, etc.) as three movement works.|
SEVEN DAYS is a cycle for solo piano in 21 movements, most lasting between three and seven minutes, distributed in the form of a custom app produced by the 92Y and released during their Fall 2021 season. Using the app on their phones, listeners are asked to listen to three movements a day according to an approximate schedule — one movement in the morning, one in the afternoon, and another sometime in the evening — for seven days. The music is performed by Pedja Muzijevic and presented alongside paintings by Gloria Maximo. (Please visit 92Y.org for information on how to download the Seven Days app.)
The work is designed as a listening experience that tunes us into the passing of time, connecting us both to the present moment as well as the cycle of the week. The experience invites music to inhabit and structure our everyday — to find us where we are in the world. The morning-afternoonevening schedule is meant to focus participants on the dawn-to-dusk cycle as well as to create a communal listening ritual. It is also an experiment in large-scale form, designed to draw attention to musical material developing across a week-long expanse, interspersed with vast silences.
SEVEN DAYS was shaped by a year spent in relative isolation due to the pandemic. While it is a work composed during a time of quarantine, it will be experienced first by an audience in the process of returning to a more normal world. In that sense, it is an artwork born out of a year of relatively cloistered existence that seeks to preserve aspects of that experience as we move forward. The piece was also inspired by the work of Morton Feldman and Chantal Akerman, whose large-scale works consider time, process, and stillness. Their art struck me with a fresh relevance during the silent stretches of the pandemic year 2020. It was also a year in which writings about time, penned by contemplatives like Henry David Thoreau and Thomas Merton, held new weight. All of this in turn resonated with Gloria Maximo’s profound paintings, which I’ve long admired.
SEVEN DAYS is an artwork we are invited to “do” — using music to point our attention to the present moment, the everyday, and the seemingly mundane. It is a piece listeners are also asked to live within as it unfolds over a week rather than to witness it live. The key players here are time and the listener’s own surroundings, starring together alongside music and art in a wordless drama.
– Gregory Spears