two pianos, eight hands (2003) 6'
published by Sweet Child Music
- commissioned by Kathy Bina
Filial Frolic was commissioned by a piano teacher, for her four adult children to play together on one of their senior piano recitals. Its subtitle, "Fantasia for Forty Fingers," hints at the potentialities and the challenges of writing for piano quartet: what to do with all of those fingers, but with no elbow room?!? As a familial finale for the recital, the piece had to sound exciting and flashy; but I also wanted to keep it from being too difficult to play, or to put together in ensemble.
My solution: layering of short scale and chordal patterns which transform over time, sort of like Hanon exercises on steroids. Many of these patterns are based on the B-F tritone (B for Bina, of course). There are also a few simultaneous cadenzas scattered throughout, with each player playing at his/her own tempo; this is an apropos image for a piece about four siblings.