for solo piano
Although Quadro Parlante was inspired by the 17th century painter Rembrandt van Rijn’s self-portraits, the piece is not about any particular painting. Instead, I took Rembrandt’s conceptual idea of gaining and presenting a personal form of self-analysis and interior dialogue through art. The main ideas of this piece are life, time, human appearance and its presentation, as well as their relationships, corresponding to Rembrandt’s concept of himself. The piece is in a rough A-B-A form. It begins with the left hand playing alone, which is intended to have a sense of the dimensions of space and time. The reason I used left hand alone is also conceptual in both musical and visual aspects. It represents the shortness and helplessness of a limited human lifetime existing in the eternal space by using one hand conquering pianistic techniques. The four-note “clock motif,“ which initially appears in the middle of the first A section, also has the time dimensional function throughout the entire piece. The middle section is simple and quiet, and it states the originality of a human being. It starts with a two-voice, one note against one note counterpoint, which implies a human’s natural purity. I especially ask the performer not to add too much humanistic expression, but to let the pitches articulate themselves. The last section develops and mixes up all previous materials. It presents the conflict of human nature and the reality of the society, and the struggle of what we are expected to be and what we indeed want to be. The piece ends with a question mark - to evoke your thinking about this issue.
© 2021 Sarana Chou, All Rights Reserved. Photography by KelleyD Photography.