Piano trio: a keyboard instrument, two string instruments.
What do they have in common? At what point to they meet?
The piano, with its short, percussive meeting of hammer and string, and its enormous register from the deepest bass to the highest treble. The stringed instruments, horsehair stroking against gut in infinite tonal variation: harsh, lively notes, gentle harmonics, long vibratos, pizzicato etc. How can they be reconciled? Must they be reconciled? Or can they impart different things, different expressions?
In the beginning. A tone, an attack; something starts to take shape, to evolve, to find its form. Once the initial phrase is over, where will the music lead me?
Does this one phrase already contain everything? The movement’s grand design, tonal material, dynamics? Does this first phrase hold the seeds of the piece? What does the music want to achieve? How can it unfold? I twist and turn the material, beat my head against it, until I slowly get used to it, until I find its essence. Hopefully “something” will emerge, a pregnant tension that gradually allows the music to start composing itself.
In the beginning is about musical sounds, about what springs from that initial attack. It’s about tremulous primeval forms, the elements that move and evolve into an unpredictable wholeness, uncertain of their tonal nature. It’s about what grows. It’s about Creation.
Beginning was composed to Kungsbacka Piano Trio for the London City Festival in 2003 on an commission from BBC