Conrad’s Toye (2020)
For piano. Dedicated to Conrad Tao.
Program note: ‘Toy [toye]: An unpretentious piece for lute or virginals, simple in form and light in texture. More than 50 examples survive in English sources from about 1590 to about 1660. Named composers of toys include, for keyboard, Bull, Gibbons and Tomkins (but not Byrd), and, for lute, Dowland and Francis Cutting. Most, however, are anonymous in the sources. There are over a dozen such toys in Jane Pickering’s Lutebook (1616 ; GB-Lbl Eg.2046), and of the five pieces called ‘toy’ in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, three are anonymous.’*
*Alan Brown. ‘Toye’, https://www.oxfordmusiconline.com
I make no claims as to the pretention or otherwise of the piece nor the simplicity of its form or lightness of its texture. I do, however, very much enjoy the image of a compositional toye created for a musician (in this case, the pianist Conrad Tao) to unpack and play with.
Conrad’s Toye is written for and dedicated to Conrad Tao.
The piece lasts about 11 minutes.
© Marc Yeats, April 2020