A Fragment, A Memory: For Elliott (2012)

World premiere by Sar-Shalom Strong at Hamilton College on November 10th, 2012
(solo piano)

Presenting Elliott Carter with his 103rd birthday card.

Presenting Elliott Carter with his 103rd birthday card.

Written on November 8th, 2012, A Fragment, A Memory is a short work for solo piano. I had the great pleasure of meeting Mr. Carter on a handful of occasions, including visiting his apartment to deliver his 103rd birthday card. He was and remains a huge inspiration for me personally and creatively.

The opening is built around two [014] trichords based around the pitch of A, set a tritone apart. [C#AC] [F#AF] These two trichords are quickly turned into fleeting figures in the right and left hands, interacting with each other until they climax on a single trichord [BbDB]. This ‘fragment’ resolves down to the A, which sets up the quotation of Elliott Carter’s setting of, “this is mortality, this is eternity” from his 2009 work, What Are Years? superimposed on one another. This quotation develops and eventually resolves on a D# and F# which forms the basis of a second set of [014] trichords set a tritone apart from the opening gesture. [GEbGb] [CEbB]. This chord is repeated in bass while the opening chord is repeated in the treble. These two chords slowly fade out until only the opening chord is quietly articulated one last time. This work was premiered by Sar-Shalom Strong at Hamilton College on November 10th, 2012.