Three Sky Studies

  1. Chant-cris
  2. Notturno/Abschiedslied I
  3. Aubade/Abschiedslied II

Three Sky Studies, for solo piano, were com­posed over the course of 2009, with ‘Chant-cris’, a vir­tu­osic scat­tering of notes in­spired by bird­song and Elliott Carter’s Caténaires, acting as a kind of short pre­lude to the second and third move­ments, which were written with pi­anist friends in mind. The first and last move­ments were work­shopped by Richard Casey in December 2009.

Notturno/Abschiedslied I’ was written for Theo Vidgen. It is made up al­most en­tirely of quiet, pulsating dyads and oc­ca­sional flur­ries at the top of the piano’s range — an ab­stracted memory of ci­cadas shaking in the still summer air, light van­ishing around the earth’s curve, Schoenberg op. 19, no. 2, Sciarrino’s Notturni, leaf-cast shadow and, between the win­dows of the sea, dusk-lit fig­ures gath­ering left-over light. This move­ment was premiered on 26 November 2009 by Olivia Jageurs as part of the New Music North West Festival (23−27 November) in a con­cert cel­eb­rating Peter Maxwell Davies’s new role as patron of Manchester University Music Society.

The final move­ment, ‘Aubade/Abschiedslied II’, was written for Yu Su and, after sev­eral early morn­ings sit­ting by the duck pond in my local park, was in­flu­enced by the warmth and un­folding colour of dawn.