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Judith Weir

Publisher: Chester Music

The Art of Touching the Keyboard (1983)
commissioned by William Howard with funds from the Arts Council
Novello & Co Ltd
Solo Keyboard(s)
Year Composed
10 Minutes
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Programme Note
Judith Weir The Art of Touching the Keyboard (1983)
The title of this music is an over-literal translation of the title of Francois Couperin’s harpsichord tutor of 1716, L’art de toucher le clavecin. It seemed appropriate for a piece which begins with the player pressing single keys tentatively, as if encountering the instrument for the first time, and ends ten minutes later with the same repeated notes marked ‘confident and relaxed’. In the interim, the music, which is in a single continuous movement, demonstrates the many ways in which the piano keys can be touched, from the gentlest of strokes to the most vicious of blows.

The Art of Touching the Keyboard was commissioned by William Howard with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain and was written in 1983.

© Judith Weir

Score sample

  • Soloist(s)
    Peter Seivewright, piano
  • Ensemble
    William Howard / Petra Casen
    Collins Classics:
  • Ensemble
    Schubert Ensemble
    William Howard, Susan Tomes, Petra
  • Soloist(s)
    Eve Egoyan
'The Art of Touching the Keyboard' is a tour de force for the solo pianist, who basically gives a little guided tour of the history of instrumental attack and articulation from the Baroque period through to Romanticism into the modern era, all using the same basic thematic and harmonic material. The piece is instructive and delightful...'
Boston Globe,18/04/2004
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