85. Nuns on the Beach, 4.51

Nuns on the Beach (composed November 2011) is an evocative experimental piano solo that was inspired by a photo take by the remarkable photographer, Lucinda Bunnen of Atlanta, whose work has also inspired several of these piano solo titles.  I was introduced to Bunnen, who holds distinctions of displaying numerous visual artwork across prominent museums both in her native state of Georgia and throughout the world (the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney, Smithsonian, etc), while spending a birthday night at her home and being compelled at the most spellbinding collections of art I have ever witnessed not only in a home but in a museum.

While attending a composers residency in northern Georgia, Bunnen, on the board of the residency, had collected works from disparate artists from all countries and tastes from sketchbooks to sculptures to lamps — all of them housed in a decorative fashion that showcased the unique style of artists who traveled to Georgia and in doing so was given a book with some of her photographs.  Nuns on the Beach (one of her early photos) immediately struck me with its black and white contrasting images on a serene day on a Pensacola beach.  

The introduction of the composition begins with a low melancholic, pulsing left hand in open, unstable intervals as the first theme emerges in a rippling, lustful sway. It contrasts with the then, warm and lyrical, free molto rubato section that suspends time and meter as muted chordal harmonies are echoed in bell-like clangs. A wistful, hushed wandering melody breezily winds its way across lydian scales and irregular phrases that undulating with left hand motion, until a brief development begins with a gently pulsing, reflective upper register linear line begins its tingling strains of familiar motivic material that again baptize the listener in a sea of autumnal, hazy scalular fragments of expressive atmospheric haze and singingly seductive large leaping intervals that wind upwards, ever-stretching toward the heavens in a subdued D major patina of childlike innocence and tender beauty.

for Piano Solo