Here's a video of me playing Sparkle:
The first idea for these Images came to me in a dream. I was sitting playing the piano, somewhere sunny I think, I swept up and then down the piano, then there was something else... For me that's a pretty detailed recollection! From that grew the opening idea for Waiting for You and the four-note figure on which the whole set is based:
This figure is the foundation for each of the pieces though used in very different ways. It can be melodic, or part of the accompaniment. It might be dominant through much of the piece, or unheard for large sections. This motif provides the glue that holds the set together and allows each piece focuses on its own character and mood.
Her Eyes alternates between tenderness and passion. It is for anyone who has ever looked into someone else's eyes, seen the whole universe, and become lost there.
Sparkle by contrast has the character of a scherzo and is much lighter. It is also the shortest of the Images.
Like the Stars is a very atmospheric piece, full of wonder and mystery.
Waiting for You is the emotional heart of the set, a mix of longing and passion for someone who never comes.
By the River is an invocation of water: perhaps a stroll on the riverbank, or a gentle boat trip, complete with birdsong.
At Sunset is a tropical scene, full of brilliant colours gently fading out.
I had originally planned to write four or five images: "Her Eyes", "Stars", "Absence", and a final one or two, perhaps "Sunset on the Water" or some such. Having done Waiting for You (as it became) and Her Eyes, I had an idea for the Stars (on the way to the hairdressers, I think) but it very quickly became apparent that while it may have been a good idea, it wasn't Stars, and thus was Sparkle born.
By the River is another one that just happened. I was trying to do some practice, and it just arrived more or less whole in an afternoon. Its only had some minor revisions since, in stark contrast to Her Eyes which was composed over several days (weeks?) and subsequently underwent extensive revisions (and I still think it's the weakest of the set). By the River clearly doesn't have sufficient weight to round off the whole set, and so At Sunset was conceived as a finale.
These notes are intended to help you if you wish to learn the Six Images on the piano. These are moderately challenging, though I would say that By the River is the easiest of the set. Notes for Waiting for You and By the River are available now, and I'll add notes for the others once I've made the audio files.
Click through to read about each piece: