Scrunch (Study No 8 - Omaggio a Domenico Scarlatti) (2000/1)
John McCabe’s ongoing cycle of studies for piano are strikingly individual stand-alone works, some very substantial in length, composed variously throughout the career of a composer of one of the most significant œuvres of contemporary piano music by any living composer. The piano studies share with the sets by Chopin, Debussy and Ligeti their narrow scrutiny of a small set of pianistic or compositional problems.
I was delighted and honoured that, amongst such a fine collection of studies, Scrunch (Study No 8 – Omaggio a Domenico Scarlatti) and, more recently, Snowfall in Winter (Study No 9 – Hommage à Debussy) were written for me. I adore the quirkiness of Scrunch, a humour not unreminiscent of Haydn, along with stylistic elements derived from one of the other great keyboard composers, Scarlatti, in particular his Sonatas in A Minor (L429) and D Major (L206). Composed in 2000-2001 and described by the composer as essentially a jeu d’esprit, Scrunch is a dizzying toccata with jazzy rhythmic interplay. Its middle section contains a succession of oddly fanciful episodes, amounting to a thrilling experience for the performer and listener alike.
Programme Note © Copyright 2003 by Tamami Honma