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Solo Piano Works


All piano works are published by Theodore Presser Company. Details and links are supplied below on your purchasing options.

  • KEYBOARD OF THE WINDS • 8’20”

    AUDIO

    Nicholas Phillips, piano
    Impressions • Blue Griffin Recording BGR 409Purchase recording

    YEAR COMPOSED
    2015

    COMMISSIONER
    Wisconsin Music Teachers Association and MTNA

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    110-41816 • $16.99 • performance score • click to order
    Sheetmusicplus.com
    PR.110418160 • $16.99 • performance score • click to order


    PROGRAM NOTES
    I began hiking in the Rocky Mountain National Park in northern Colorado when I was in my early twenties. RMNP is home to some of the most gorgeous mountains in North America, encompassing 265,000 acres of wilderness, flora, and fauna. Among the park’s numerous summits is Longs Peak, a mountain that is 14,259 feet high (the highest in the region). From my earliest days of hiking, I was drawn to Longs Peak, as well as to a jagged stretch of rock formations that link Longs Peak to Pagoda Mountain (which stands at 13,497 feet). These formations are called the Keyboard of the Winds, as their thin, spindly peaks loosely suggest the splintered keys of an old, broken piano.

    One summer, I made the ascent to Pagoda Mountain using a route that took me along the right side of the Keyboard of the Winds. My hiking partner and I started up the trail in the pre-dawn hours, and the weather was stormy. Dawn had broken by the time we reached the base of the Keyboard, but its peaks were still surrounded by clouds. As we climbed higher and higher, the Keyboard’s thin spires became visible, along with the top of Pagoda Mountain. We reached the summit of Pagoda, admired the view (what we could see through the clouds), and made our descent.

    My piece is a tribute to the Keyboard of the Winds. The fast, whirling gestures depict swirling clouds, and the musical high points represent a hiker reaching the peaks of the Keyboard. I have contrasted these sections with quiet, introspective material; these embody the hiker quietly surveying the grandeur and beauty of the valley below (on a cloudless day), as well as the soaring pinnacles of Longs Peak and Pagoda Mountain overhead.
    -S.G.

  • THE SOLITUDE OF STARS • 5’

    VIDEO

    Joseph Francavilla, piano

    YEAR COMPOSED
    2020

    COMMISSIONER
    Utah Arts Festival commissioned the original sextet.

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    Coming later in 2020

    PROGRAM NOTES
    In 2014, I enjoyed a wonderful residence at the Ucross Foundation in Clearmont, Wyoming. Ucross is an artist colony that gives writers, composers, and visual artists the gift of time, space, and support to follow their artistic pursuits; we are provided with studio space, housing, and meals so that we can work almost continuously on our projects. I have been in residence at numerous artist colonies; however, nothing in my previous experiences prepared me for living in such isolated, wild country. Ucross is situated on a 20,000-acre cattle ranch at nearly 4,000 feet in elevation with fewer than 150 people living within the town. But what Clearmont lacks in population, it makes up for abundantly and spectacularly in wilderness and wildlife. I composed the sextet Postcards from Wyoming to poetry three glimpses of what I found to be the most striking aspects of my residence.

    The Solitude of Stars, the third and final movement of the original sextet, was inspired by the stunning nightly display of the heavens above. Without city lights dimming the night sky, countless stars shone brightly over the vast expanse of the prairie. In 2020, I arranged the solo piano edition for my husband, Joseph Francavilla.

    -S.G.
  • TANGO GARDEL • 4’45”

    AUDIO
    Nicola Melville
    Melville's Dozen • Innova Records 691 • Purchase recording

    YEAR COMPOSED
    2007

    COMMISSIONER
    Nicola Melville


    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    110-41782 • $17.95 • performance score • click to order
    Sheetmusicplus.com
    PR.110417820 • $17.95 • performance score • click to order

    PROGRAM NOTES
    Carlos Gardél (1890-1935) was the most famous Argentine tango singer of his time. He had already an established performing career when in 1917 he began experimenting with the tango, which was at that time simply an instrumental form. He created the “tango-canciones.” or tango songs, in which he fashioned text to music. Audiences went wild over this new development of the tango, and Gardél spent much of the rest of his career composing and performing tango-canciones. Typically, subject matter of these songs consisted of mournful, longing ballads of love. Gardél’s life was tragically cut short in a plane crash when he was at the height of his career; his untimely death catapulted him to the status of legend in Buenos Aires and beyond.

    Tango Gardél is a tribute to Carlos. Amid dramatic flourishes, you hear Carlos’s voice, represented by a singing solo played mid-range on the piano as the music rapidly migrates through moments of rage, loneliness, and tenderness.
    -S.G.
  • TEENY TANGO • 1’10” Enter description here.

    AUDIO
    Excerpt performed by Amy Briggs
    Tangos for Piano • Ravello Records RR7808 • purchase recording
    Used by permission • All rights reserved

    YEAR COMPOSED
    2003

    ORDERING SCORES
    Theodore Presser Company
    110-41798 • $7.99 • performance score • click to order
    Sheetmusicplus.com
    PR.110417980 • $7.99 • performance score • click to order

    PROGRAM NOTES
    I feel a great affinity for the music of Buenos Aires based on a trip that I took to Argentina in 1999. In Teeny Tango, I wanted to encapsulate the immense drama of the tango genre within a very compact (and short) form. This piece was written for and premiered by Amy Briggs.
    -S.G.