Above everything this piece is expressive, full of longing, passion and loss. The opening tempo should be very slow, but take care of the metre: 6/8 not 3/4 (except of course those places, e.g. bar 7, where it slips into 3/4!). Critically, this means that in the semiquaver (16th-note) passages each bar should divide into two groups of six notes, not three groups of four notes. This is especially difficult because the pattern repeats every four notes – the beat and accent is contrary to the pattern.
The pedal markings are very precise and should be complete (unlike many of my works). Don't be afraid of the very long pedals. Where there is just one idea sustained over several bars (e.g. 3–5) the unchanged pedal should work on any piano. In the Più mosso section, it may be necessary to add some discreet extra half-pedallings if the sound becomes too muddy. The soft pedal should only be used in the very last bar.
This piece encompasses the full dynamic range of the piano. The very last bar should be played as quietly as you can manage, while the climax in bars 77–79 should be as loud as you can tolerate (actually, perhaps it should be a little louder).
There are various points in the piece that appear to be repeats but are in fact subtly different. Care needs to be taken to bring out the differences and not simply repeat the idea. The most important example is the idea occuring in bars 6–8. In the first case it reaches an accented climax with a pause. When it recurs in bars 27–29, there is no pause; while in bars 95–97 the climax is abandoned at the last minute, but the pause remains. In bars 124–126 the same idea recurs, but with longer note values (moving it into the 6/8 time, and out of 3/4).
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Read more Performance Notes:
1. Her Eyes
3. Like the Stars
4. Waiting for You
5. By the River
6. At Sunset