Three Pieces for Piano


Commissioned by the Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst for Pascal Meyer.

Some time ago I was daydreaming, as I often do, and I asked myself: ‘What can a composer contribute, in the year 2002, to the art of playing the interior of the piano? Are there preparations to introduce whose effect would be unprecedented? Hordes of people have rummaged around in there and complete mothers-in-law have disappeared inside; what could I add to that?’ Three weeks later I received a letter from Pascal Meyer in which he asked if I would compose a piece explicitly requiring him to play interior of the piano. Is there such a thing as fate?

Maybe I’ve contributed something useful to the piano repertoire after all in the form of three short pieces, each with its own subject. In Rent-a-Dance, the last and most rhythmic piece, the harmonic is central. The overtone so named is caused by lightly touching the string at a specific point while playing.
The muted tone is the subject of the dreamy second movement, Intimate Integration. This tone has a very characteristic, dry sound. It is produced by pressing down on the strings right behind the bridge while playing. Outside the world of new music and jazz it is often used in horror films.

The central idea of the opening piece is the Mannheimer Rakete, a broken triad that quickly rises over a wide range. The Mannheim school was a group of mid-18th century German composers whose most prominent representative was Jan Stamitz (1717-1757). One of their novelties was the Mannheim Rocket. Beethoven opens his Sonata Opus 2, Nr. 1 with one. I was inspired by this little figure and thought up the Drunken Mannheim Rocket in which the antagonist is a Seufzer (another discovery of the Mannheimers). Characteristic for this melodic formula is the ‘sighing’ descending of two tones.

Commissioned by the Foundation for the Creative Arts for Pascal Meyer.
First performance: November 2 in the Ysbreker during the Amsterdam Suite Music Week 2002.

Drunken Mannheim rocket.

Intimate integration.


Pascal Meyer, piano