Little Toy Machines (10 movements) (composed November 2013) is a ten-movement piano solo work that is built on the idea of exploring and exploiting the buzzing, creaking and whirring subtle and soft hums and clangorous mechanistic charms made from ten differently sub-titled little toy machines.
Fervent waves of orchestrally sonorous sound across the full extent of the keyboard give this post-minimalist piece a voice akin to some of the great urban post-modern composers in this century of highly stylized orchestration and multi-layered intricacies. The small scale of the gossamer ticks and whirls of the soundscape of the inner working of children’s toys is expectant veiled, muted and hushed tones and overtones. Quiet beatings and tappings either rapidly fleeting or humorously sluggish pulsing rhythms driving the key focal point and subject of this compelling work.
Smartly crafted inner lines, delicate soft touches and precise footwork with the piano’s pedals require of the pianist to bring out the simple charms of otherworldly noises in this popular, disarmingly innocent substantial piece that deserves great attention to detail by the pianist as careful balancing and nuances must be observed, as the scrupulous yet playful exchange between both hands must allow for maximum clarity of melodic and linear lines and thoughtful clarity — not only to the banality of the pulsating rhythms that blanket almost the entirety of the piece but also to the textural counterpoint that gives both foreground, middleground and background shading and contrast, providing both alluring contextual shape and dynamic beauty.
Those ten movements are (in order) titled:
1. Wind-up cars
2. Speed latch shutters
3. Pull-string doll
4 Tin coils
6. Music box gears
7. Newton’s cradle
8. Flipping monkey with springs
9. Red turn-key airplane
10. Elliptical rotator drawings
*(includes 1.5 DC motor)
for Piano Solo