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Four Rothko Pictures

for piano duet

Kit Powell

Composer:   Kit Powell

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Score

Sample: First page of each part.

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These four short pieces for piano duet are intended for young people who have got a little beyond the beginning but are still a long way from the end of the long and arduous path to becoming a pianist.

Compositionally they are exercises in the use of clusters, those bunches of notes for which the piano and human (and indeed other parts of the anatomy) are ideally suited.

Emotionally they are inspired by some of the monumental and very exciting picture by Mark Rothko (1903-1970) which I had the good fortune to experience at an exhibition in the Foundation Beyeler in Basel in May 2001.

Although I had particular pictures in mind as I wrote these pieces, it is enough for the pianists to know the general style. Each of them has a "frame" colour within which two large areas were painted. Although each of these areas are of only one colour, when one looks into them one realises there is a constant change of subtle detail. he edges of these areas are blurred which lends much to the powerful feeling on spaciousness which the pictures convey.

In each piece then, there is an "edge-sound" which one hears not as a background, but as as starting or a finishing or a connecting sound. Alongside this are two larger areas of sound which one must be able to "listen into", to hear a whole world of detailed sound within,

Even if only a fragment of Rothko's "monumentalness" can creep into these pieces, they will have succeeded.

Performance history