42. The Baobab Tree, 2.16

The Baobab Tree (composed October 2012) is an advanced spectralist piano solo work. The dotted pitches that paint the entire keyboard’s canvas spindle its wistful shifting notes across disparate areas of time and tonality like tree branches outstretched from a mighty Baobab tree.  The Baobab, an usually leafless, tall tree indigenous to African and Indian countries, have impressively thick trucks which correlates to the piece’s leafless (harmonically nonexistent), massive trunks (the core of the pitches being around middle C).  This intriguing piece was inspired by a recent visit to continent of Africa and upon hearing one of several legends about the tree:

“The baobab was among the first trees to appear on the land. Next came the slender, graceful palm tree. When the baobab saw the palm tree, it cried out that it wanted to be taller. Then the beautiful flame tree appeared with its red flower and the baobab was envious for flower blossoms. When the baobab saw the magnificent fig tree, it prayed for fruit as well. The gods became angry with the tree and pulled it up by its roots, then replanted it upside down to keep it quiet.”  

This dramatic landscape firmly plants the piece in a chromatic and simultaneously free floating atmosphere of disjointed notes and rhythms in a seemingly serial and aleatoric fashion, however was written precisely using standard methods of composition.  Awash in glistening upward-rising chromatic scales sweep the air and evoking an inviting intimacy that also compelling encapsulates the entire full register of the keyboard and provides dynamic contrast to the stark one-note alternating hands methods. The instruments’ sounds inevitably coalesce into a singularly spiraling uniform sound that is makes the sublayers’ fragmentary material drift into the background as the over-arching topography of speckled staccato and dotted pitches accent articulations and mark jittering, syncopated rhythms in a work of sophistication and refined surface sounds. 

for Piano Solo