Michael Edwards

gold im bach

Programme Note

gold im bach is for one or more pianists. Where more than one pianist is involved, two pianos are used and the pianists alternate at points they choose in the score, overlapping and interjecting to create a `hand-off' back and forth over the whole duration of the work.

The title gold im bach arose from a discussion I had with Karin Schistek after listening to an electronic mock-up of the piece generated by my algorithmic composition software slippery chicken. Karin is a pianist and synaesthete for whom all objects, sounds, and experiences conjure up associated colours. I told her that I experience this piece as a long and ever-flowing river. She retorted that for her it was more like a `Bach' (= `stream' in German). She might have merely been taking me down with this comment but claims she meant a stream in the sense that she could see detailed objects underneath the flowing water, and that amongst the stones and other objects were flashes of gold.

The title also conjures up Bach's Goldberg variations, of course, and insofar as my piece transforms repeated structures over a significant duration (c. 34 minutes), the connection to Goldberg is not amiss. However, the extramusical and poetic thrust of the work is much more connected to an astounding short poem by the Beat Generation American poet Gregory Corso found on his headstone in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome:

is Life
It flows thru
the death of me
like a river
of becoming
the sea