Program Notes for CPE

CPE for two pianos shares with my other two pieces for two pianos the attribute of borrowed materials: In Period Piece there are a few quotes from Schubert and stylistic references to the Classical Sonata Style. In Serge P the entire piece is a transcompositon of a Prokofiev piece for two violins.

CPE uses extended passages from the Würtemberg Sonatas of C.P.E. Bach and retains the three-movement structure of those pieces. What happens to the materials is a kind of stylistic time travel, generating a continually developing eclectic mosaic.

Movement I begins with the opening of W.49/1 in Piano II, with a close imitation and development in Piano I. Immediately, "foreign" elements creep in; and, when later sections of the Bach original reappear, our perception of them is changed by what we have just heard. Later in the movement, materials are incorporated from W. 49/3 to set up the Coda.

Movement II begins with a frame/flourish as a structural upbeat to the slow movement of W.65/11, which appears in Piano I. After the introduction of original material, material from the slow movement of W. 49/5 generates the B section of the piece.

Movement III probably has the most extensive quotes from C.P.E. Bach and uses most of the Finale of W. 49/6 throughout the piece. A bogus "chorale" appears in the latter half, creating a tonal and stylistic conflict. It appears like the ghost of the old Bach, and the Coda is a kind of contest of wills, ending in cacophonous triumph and virtuosic bravado.

This revision of the work was prepared with the help of the pianist, Tom Beghin who premiered it with the composer in May of 1999.