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Star Colors
for solo piano

Work no. 233
2022

Paused...

    Back in 2016 I had the idea to use biological rhythms as a point of reference for a piece of music. I wanted to compose something with a regular rhythm, but accelerating, decelerating because of some small change in the circumstances; suddenly stopping, starting again after a period of rest... reaching a climax, decaying, dying, dissolving into the elements, but present nonetheless in the soil, the air, in progeny, or in memory. It took a few years to make a successful first approach, in the small piano work Night-blooming Cereus (Work no. 182, 2021), but it was too limited in scope, and I felt I couldn't really do something like this in a small piece.

    Although I don't really know much about it, astronomy is never far from my thoughts, and stellar evolution was the particular instance of a natural rhythm that jump-started the development of Star Colors. The last five pieces of the collection could be what is known as stellar remnants – they're almost entirely composed out of fragments of the first five pieces, put into different sequences, re-contextualized, and occasionally they're spawning new music. I was thinking of memory and its rhythm, too: remembering events not in the chronological order, but in order which matters to you, or fantasizing about something that never happened. Some of Lawrence Durrell's The Alexandria Quartet may be responsible for this, since that was the book I was reading at the time of composing.

    The middle two works – Crimson and Lavender – are something of an interlude; they present a more clinical, analytical approach to rhythm. In Crimson there is only a single melody, repeated over and over again, but there are several rhythmic modes it goes through. So the traditional roles of melody and rhythm are reversed, and it's the melody that stays constant, while the rhythm changes. In Lavender, the rhythms and their sequence stay the same, but they multiply from section to section, while neither the melodies nor the harmonies are ever repeated; it's a reproduction cycle which incessantly generates new life. The piece only stops because of the limitations of a human player; further proliferation of rhythms would cause polyphony which would be impossible to play.

    Once again I am thankful to my friends in the US and in Turkey for making this work possible; without their help and support, I would've never been able to devote entire months of my life to completing a large project like this; S.C.B., C.C., A.S., C.K. – you know who you are.


    Star Colors – PDF score


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