for Piano Solo
Duration: ca. 6’40”
by Edward Caine
Wild flowers started life as a Piano Etude (study); The composition of the piece was informed originally by the mechanical action of creating a complicated pianissimo texture by having one hand play the black keys and the other playing the white, as inspired by a couple of György Ligeti’s piano etudes, for example “Desordre”.
The piece also explores another part of piano technique, that of piano clusters performed by using the whole or parts of the hand to hit a number of keys at the same time. In my mind these clusters can be quite beautiful, and there are some prominent composers, for example Frederic Rzewski and Salvatore Sciarrino, who use them in their piano writing.
The structure and narrative of the piece is inspired by my experiences of running along the embankment by the river Ouse in York one evening, just as the summer flowers were coming into bloom and the light was shifting across the scene.
Whenever I run through wild flowers I see a shifting pattern of many blades of grass and then occasional flashes of colour which are most vivid against the background. I started to associate flashes of colour with high piano clusters and I invented a texture made up of many “blades of grass”, each consisting of a left and a right hand run, of constantly shifting sizes, speeds, and overlapping each other.
You might consider it an impressionist’s painting of a country scene, and certainly the piece is inspired by Claude Debussy’s Images (specifically Poisson D’or).
Edward Caine whisked his Debussy influences in a volatile direction with wild flowers. Its vivid note clusters allowed Pace to exhibit colour and subtlety in a formidably explosive acoustic.
-Rich Powell, York Press