Piers Hellawell (b.1956) Piani, Latebre (2010)
Piani, Latebre (layers, hiding-places) is a set of three diverse pieces for solo piano, preceded by an introductory flourish presenting a tiny preview of their core material. The order of the three pieces is the choice of the pianist; differences of character between them suggest alternative dramatic narratives, depending on the ordering, and it seems appropriate that the interpreter should have a hand in this shaping. The work is built upon three archetypal materials of the piano keyboard: the tremolo (rapid alternation of two notes or chords), the scalic flourish up or down the keyboard and a striding idea in melody-and-bass. Each piece combines two of these three building materials, so that they resurface in different pieces. The music is concerned with the voicing of simultaneous layers, or piani, but also with the search for hidden expressive places - latebre - lurking in the familiar sound-world of the piano.
The work was commissioned by William Howard with funds generously provided by Landmark Chambers and is dedicated to Neil and Matilda King. It was first performed by William Howard at the Spitalfields Festival, London on June 17th 2010