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Joan Tower

Publisher: AMP

Ivory and Ebony (2009)
Publisher
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Category
Solo Keyboard(s)
Year Composed
2009
Duration
8 Minutes
Orchestration
Availability
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Programme Note
Joan Tower Ivory and Ebony (2009)
Premiere:
October 11-17, 2009
Participants in the 2009 San Antonio International Piano Competition
San Antonio, TX

Composer note:

Ivory and Ebony is about the black and white notes of the piano which alternate "thematically" but occasionally mix together. Since I am also a pianist, this was a fun and challenging piece to write for the upcoming piano virtuosos coming to the San Antonio competition. I hope they enjoy working on it and I very much look forward to their different interpretations.

— Joan Tower


Sample Pages



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Performances
Date
Title
Reviews
Several solo pieces proved especially striking. Ivory and Ebony (2009), written for the San Antonio International Piano Competition, begins with a tolling effect so uneventful that you wondered how tough the contest could have been. The answer came quickly in Andrew Hsu’s incendiary account: before long, he was enmeshed in episodes of speedy, Bartokian complexity and fortissimo Lisztian dazzle. It is the kind of work that sounds as if it required more than 10 fingers, not to mention the agility to shift quickly between styles.
Allan Kozinn, The New York Times,5/9/2011
...commissioned for the San Antonio [International Piano Competition]... it’s an evocative work in which jazzy tone color and broad emotionalism are expressed through the idea of a rivalry between music made on the black keys and the white keys. Tower’s piece begins with a soft, quiet series of repeated chords that alter slightly harmonically, creating a sonic color wash very much in keeping with the Debussy that followed it. Tower makes use of the full keyboard, from deep rumblings in the bass to running passages in opposition directions that reach both ends of the instrument. Amid all this tonal bravura is a little motif, the first three notes of a minor-key scale, that help anchor the music in a narrative context.
Greg Stepanich, Palm Beach ArtsPaper,10/7/2009
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