Roman Cathedrals (8 movements) (composed March 2014) is an eight-movement piano solo work using harmonic and melodic idioms to sound familiar and new at the same time. Each movement, with its precise musical characterize, fits neatly into the overarching topography of the spiritual, building character and drama though varied styles. It boasts lovely writing for the instrument; a poetic voice; streamlined, dramatic pacing; vivid textures; and a dynamic overarching flair for flavors that showcase the pianist in a dazzlingly dexterous command.
Keen at setting scenes and moods, and brilliant at obtaining an ‘orchestral’ quality, here, to powerful emotional effect, Roman Cathedrals, is beautifully, telling – even, at times luxuriantly – written; melodic lines are mainly fluent, but more angular at moments of dramatic tension. It is an utterly postmodern work in a melange of highly varied styles, but the mix is artfully integrated to stretch Frenchified Americana into greater piquancy. The first movement, with its harmonies pulling and tugging, sets a seductive but disquieting mood that offshoots to post-minimalist chugging and impressionistic, singable lines over broad swaths of loosely tonal harmonies that are not traditional yet could be subjected to traditional analysis. Modernists dissonance and rhythmic angularity simplify the language of the piece and ensure clear, attention to nuances that support an unerringly illuminating into disparate characterizations and situations inspired from a visiting Roman Cathedrals.
The movements (in order) are:
1. Doorway With Arms Of Counts Of Chazay
2. Tower Spires
3. Caryatids Of The Four Continents
4. A Frieze of Painted Figures Decorating the Crypts
5. A Series of Barrel Vault Arches
6. Medieval Stained Glass Mandorias
7. Panels for the Rectable of Agnade Beaufremont
8. The Octagonal Baptistery Alterpiece
for Piano Solo