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Augusta Read Thomas

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Traces (2006)
Commissioned by the Montalvo Festival
G Schirmer Inc
Solo Keyboard(s)
Year Composed
16 Minutes
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Programme Note
Composer's Note:

It is not intended that a pianist would play all 5 Traces at once. Rather, 1 or 2 Traces might be programmed on a given recital. i.e.: this is a collection of independent "character pieces," published as a set.

Commissioned by the Montalvo Festival.

I: Reverie
Like Robert Schumann (The Poet Speaks) crossed with George Crumb
1 minute 30 seconds

II: Caprice
Like Scarlatti's Baroque Ornamentation crossed with Art Tatum
2 minutes 30 seconds

III: Tango
Like Astor Piazzola crossed with John Coltrane
3 minutes

IV: Impromptu
Like Stravinsky crossed with Chopin and Thelonious Monk
6 minutes 30 seconds

V: Toccata
Like J.S. Bach crossed with BeBop
2 minutes 30 seconds

— Augusta Read Thomas

Sample Pages

  • Ensemble
    The Meadows Wind Ensemble
    Gregory Hustis, horn; Carol Leone and Regan Smith, piano; Amy Briggs Dissanayake, piano
    Jack Delaney
  • Ensemble
    Walden Chamber Players
  • Soloist(s)
    Heidi Louise WIlliams
    Albany Records:
Augusta Read Thomas’s Traces, played by pianist Makiko Hirata with fizzy confidence, specified its influences, mixing particular jazz and classical composers.
Matthew Guerrieri , The Boston Globe,19/08/2010
Augusta Read Thomas’s Traces (2006), another solo piano work, imagines an intertwining of specific classical and jazz influences: “Like Astor Piazzolla Crossed With John Coltrane,” one descriptive subtitle reads. Others suggested hybrids of Chopin and Thelonious Monk, or Bach and bebop. Makiko Hirata’s performance highlighted the points of contact nicely, bringing out, for example, a Chopin-esque melody line that Ms. Thomas hid within Monk-like harmonies and rhythms, and letting a Bachian theme swing without straying into Swingle Singers territory.
Allan Kozinn, The New York Times,17/08/2010
Traces, by Augusta Read Thomas, is a series of stylistic fusions, suggesting what would happen if you crossed Scarlatti with Art Tatum, or Bach with BeBop. Briggs made a strong case for these imaginative, often thorny keyboard etudes, especially the austere beauty of Reverie (a supposed mesh of Schumann and George Crumb) and the intense, vibrant complexity of Impromptu (Stravinksy and Chopin meet Thelonius Monk). This was the first public performance anywhere of the complete Traces, composed in 2006.
Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun,27/01/2009
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