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I started composing A World of Pain in early 2017, while I was in the midst of recording my first album ‘Landscapes’. I needed a break from recording, and I simply felt like writing something new. I had barely finished the first page when I realised that A World of Pain would end up becoming one of the most strenuous and technically challenging pieces that I had ever written.
The piece begins abruptly, with a broken-octave motif consisting entirely of prestissimo quavers. After four bars of the unaccompanied motif, a series of jarring chords are simultaneously struck alongside it. This results in a disorienting atmosphere, which becomes increasingly tense as the motif works its way up the fingerboard. Two contrasting themes are then presented one after the other. Although they are melodically unrelated to each other and the opening motif, they too feature octaves, and they continue the relentless stream of prestissimo quavers. A development section follows, reworking material from both themes and the introduction. The two themes eventually return in their original form, before a dramatic coda, which is based on the development section. An inverted version of the opening motif concludes the piece, in a harsh and unsettling manner.