for piano (some assembly required)piano (2015)
|Commission||Commissioned by the Partners of the Law Firm of Latham & Watkins in association with San Francisco Performances|
|Premiere||May 10, 2015; SFJazz Center, San Francisco, CA; Vijay Iyer, piano|
This piece consists of a set of generative processes for piano improvisations. They may be played in any order. A given performance can consist of the full set or any partial set. Individual processes may be repeated within a performance. They may also be superimposed or otherwise executed in combination. Any one process can continuously transform into any other, or coexist with and influence other processes; or they can be played as isolated movements.
Each process isolates one or more variables or highlights a specific behavior at the instrument. However, attention should be paid to other expressive elements, such as tone, dynamics, articulation, and pedaling, even when these are not specified; such parameters are open, and the performer is free to employ them to express the piece. Every sound is a choice.
The pianist is thereby asked to construct a performance from the given processes. This requires listening to not just the moment-to-moment evolution of your acts, but to the aggregate of musical events over time. In order to do so, you can consider speed or energy density as an organizing parameter, guiding your choices across movements; for example, slow-fast-slow, or heavy-light-medium.
This directive is the most challenging aspect of the piece; as performer, you must cultivate your own perspective on what constitutes a “complete” performance, and execute it in real time. In particular, you are asked to develop an emotional connection with an audience through these musical acts. This requires rigor, intentionality, and vulnerability. Proceed knowing that nobody has heard this before, nor can they expect to hear it again. It’s all about what you do with the moment and the unknown: shaping and defying expectations
May this score serve as a toolset for innumerable constructions. Thank you for playing.
– Vijay Iyer