Hans Abrahamsen: 10 Studies for Piano (1984-98)
6. For the Children
8. Rivière d'oubli
10. Le trombe del mattino
The first 7 studies for piano were written in 1983-84 at the request of Amalie Malling, to whom the pieces are dedicated, after a commission from Bornholm's Music Festival. From the start I had planned that there should be 10 studies in all, but not before 1998 No. 8 and 9 were written, whereas No. 10 had already been written in 1986. The last 3 studies are dedicated to Anne Marie Abildskov, who premiered the 10 studies as an entity on December 20, 1998, in New Music Odense at the Academy of Music of Funen.
On the one hand, these pieces can be seen as studies of the piano's character or soul, if you like. A soul that has been created by all the music that has been written for the instrument, from its childhood until today. Constantly, new aspects of this deeply inspiring instrument have been discovered throughout its history in the interplay between composers and the performers of the piano.
In the first 4 studies, the modern grand piano remembers its romantic age, the Schumannesque and Chopinesque worlds, but seen from our time, as a kind of psychoanalysis. The titles are in German; No. 1, Traumlied; No. 2, Sturm; No. 3, Arabeske; No. 4, Ende, like an allusion to this time of adventure for the piano.
With the next 3 studies; No. 5, Boogie-Woogie; No. 6, For the Children; No. 7, Blues, there is another epoch, closer to ours and the feeling of time has equally changed. The titles are English (American), and the pieces are more mechanical and rhytmical, and perhaps slightly cool and jazzy.
The next 2 studies carry French titles; No. 8, Rivière d'oubli (The River of Oblivion) and No. 9, Cascades (Cascades), and it is here that the French piano spirit and sound from Debussy and Ravel are mirrored, just like the water element recurs in the titles and characters of both pieces.
The last study No. 10 is entitled Le trombe del mattino (The Trumpets of the Morning), ie. in the language of Italy, the land of light.
To all intents and purposes, the 10 studies can be divided into four parts. The first part consists of four studies with German titles; the second part has three studies with English ones; the third part being two studies with French titles and finally, the fourth and last part being a study with an Italian title.
The language of the title means a lot to me and to which associations it arouses the listener. there may, for instance, be a world of difference between a "Traumlied", a "Drømmesang" and a "Dream Song", for that matter.
It is true about many of the titles that they have only been found after the pieces had been written; ie, I did not decide to write a boogie-woogie, but the title came as an afterthought at the end of the piece.