February 10 2012
Melvin Chen, piano
Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Steps is a short piano piece written as an homage to Debussy, a composer that I believe Milton [Babbitt] never particularly liked or understood. As a pianist, I played a good deal of Debussy’s piano music which I learned to love and which had an effect on my own music. But inside the Debussy-like textures of Steps, there are 12 tone rows that get tossed around in the more active and loud passages a kind of salute to the memory of that feisty, brilliant and articulate man Milton Babbitt.