caleb’s toye (2014)
caleb’s toye for piano | dedicated to Caleb Herron | duration: 3.36 minutes
I was recently approached by pianist Nicolas Horvath to write a piece for his epic homage to Philip Glass piano recitals ‘the GlassWorlds’. I am not a fan of Glass’ music so thought the request strange. However, Nicolas made it clear that he was not looking for copies and imitations of Glass’ work but pieces that were also reactionary so as to broaden the scope and musical language of his project. Thinking about the matter further I realised that there are sometimes elements in my music that concern repetition and the use of limited material. I would not describe this as minimalist in approach, not least because the rate of transformation that occurs in my works from bar to bar, even based on limited material renders the term repetition somewhat redundant. So here in ‘homage’ I have written a piece that is the opposite of Glass’ compositional approach but is never-the-less related to aspects of it in some very distant way.
In response I composed amy’s toye which is dedicated to the American pianist Amy O’Dell who plays in Chamber Cartel. I have recently finished a commission for Chamber Cartel, ‘an exploration of bright’, that includes an extensive piano part. Within that piece there were a few bars of material that could develop a life of their own and went on to become amy’s toye. Following the completion amy’s toye I realised that I had not exhausted this process or material. Indeed, I started to see the possibility for a whole collection of ‘toye’ pieces dedicated to various friends and colleagues. As the first piece was for Amy, it was natural that the second piece, caleb’s toye should be for Caleb Herron, Artistic Director and percussionist with Chamber Cartel who will also be premiering ‘an exploration of bright’ in November 2014. Amy and Caleb played host to me when I was in Atlanta in 2013 for a Chamber Cartel premiere of the complete ‘the shape distance’. It is gratifying to be able to return their kindness through the dedication of these pieces.
These pieces are not character portrayals; they are simply gifts.
toy noun ˈtȯin: something a child plays with
: something that an adult buys or uses for enjoyment or entertainment
: something that is very small
Full Definition of TOY
a : flirtatious or seductive behavior
b : pastime; also : a sportive or amusing act : antic
a : something (as a preoccupation) that is paltry or trifling
b : a literary or musical trifle or diversion
c : trinket, bauble
3 : something for a child to play with
4 : something diminutive; especially : a diminutive animal (as of a small breed or variety)
5 : something that can be toyed with
Origin of TOY: Middle English toye. First Known Use: 15th century