Music for Solo Piano

Dr Assaf Shelleg October, 2008

"In light of Farber’s music for the stage and radio operas, his piano works (2005-2008) may be seen – similar to Copland’s Music for the Theatre (1925) – as music for a non-existent play or drama. As a result, Farber piano works are the product of a dramatic thinking, uninhibited by pianistic consideration, which in turn create fresh textures and sonorities.
Musically, Farber relies on linearity, expressed both melodically and harmonically, variations through displaced melodic lines, and musical games that borders on light music, and sometimes jazz, as much as it is a pilpul. .  In addition, Farber’s rhythmic perceptions echo his experience with free jazz improvisation, composition for dance and playing the double bass in a big band.  
Tempting as it may be to call these works postmodern; it would be futile, since Farber’s perceptions are free from any historicist burdens or the needs to discharge them


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary -Pilpul

Pil"pul\, n. [Aramaic pilp[=u]l; cf. Heb. pilpel to spice, to season, dispute violently.] Among the Jews, penetrating investigation, disputation, and drawing of conclusions, esp. in Talmudic study. -- Pil"pul*ist, n. -- Pil`pul*is"tic, a.


the piano . . . the piano . . .  the piano

the dragon with eighty odd teeth

i love the line by victor borge -- the original piano had only one key . . . and then they invented the cracks    

it took me most of my life to seriously approach composing for the instrument.  o.k. so i did here and there compose for the instrument which i cant play myself.  i composed a pushkin poem for my wife roni five years ago -- soprano and piano.   whooooops what have i said?!?

oh my god, a composer who cant play the piano.  yes, its true.   when i finally sat down and tried to learn the instrument i was 19 or 20 years old and my hands and fingers just did not want to do the necessary realignment of nerves and muscles. . .  did not want to adapt from one line at a time playing reeds or even contrabass to harmonic thinking to playing broken chords with one hand and melody with the other.

i can not play even the most basic repertory.  and this is strange because even complicated scores that i can hear in my inner ear i cannot even begin to play on the piano and of course i cannot play any of the stuff that i compose.  

and now for the rhetorical question.  has this been a problem?   no, not in the real world.  at the music academy score reading exams were a horror of playing what i could and singing.    i passed - just barely - they must have wanted to get rid of me  :>}  but in the real world there has never been a problem.   when i go into an opera house there are what seem to be dozens of people that can sight read my music if that is a necessary. 

but back to the piano. . . i had made a list a few years ago.  PIECES THAT I HAVE TO COMPOSE BEFORE I DIE -  and on the list was a song cycle for voice and piano  - being a goal oriented person i set about working through a list that i thought might take me a decade and finished it in a few years.  [i’ve got to make a new list]  i composed the song cycle “angelique” and have since composed another two cycles by heine and the pianists that have seen the cycles have not complained about the piano parts. 

this year i met assaf shelleg, a musicologist and pianist who is interested in my music -- and also the question about why i work almost exclusively in europe --after a few meeting and a couple of lunches he  asked me very tactfully if i would like to compose a polyphonic piece for solo piano for him.  i said that i would think about it but the part of my brain which does the work had ideas of its own and composed the piece while i was asleep . . .  assaf went through it and made some suggestions and it within a short time passacaglia nr. 2 was finished.   passacaglia nr. i is for orchestra.  

i forgot a little piece that i did for bob martin who was the advisor of my son guy in his internship.  my son had told him about me and dr. martin asked for a piece so i wrote a piece that for me is in the form of a talmudic discourse.  

here is a synthisized version of the first discourse  -- encore and garritan are the programs used.   

Audio file of piano sonata dialogues    (Click here to listen to the file 4 MB)
Drag & drop support Piano Solo Dialogues   (Click here to listen to the file 125 KB)  

dirk wedmann who was one of soloist in my concerto grosso for percussion and orchestra duisburg 2008 asked for a piece and i composed a second piece in the style of a talmudic discourse which can be played as a separate piece or as a second movement to the first discourse.  

By the end of the year i hope to put up real audio and further notation examples of my work for solo piano.

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