"Inner Landscapes" (2009)

for solo piano. Commissioned by Adam Marks .


This work, commissioned by Adam Marks and written for him, is scored for a vocalizing pianist, that is to say a pianist who, while playing the music, also interprets a text, which may or may not require reading, singing, acting, crying, sighing, laughing, and doing whatever indicated in the score.

“Inner Landscapes” took a long time to compose, after an even longer period of gestation, during which I was thinking about what type of work I wanted to write, and what character I would give the text. As it often happens in my work, after many months of reflection, the character, structure, and main musical materials of the piece all came to me in a sudden, clear and almost intuitive way. The text was excerpted and assembled from a wide variety of sources and influences which have been very important to me over the years. Musically, a wide variety of styles and compositional techniques coexist, with lyrical and expressive moments characterized by late-Romantic harmonies slowly transforming and exploding into highly virtuosic dissonant passages, only to implode and extinguish themselves into moving, ethereal sections, leading to deep, meditative silence. Musical materials that have shaped my life since my early childhood and fragmented musical quotes of a heterogeneous nature will emerge hauntingly to the surface of the music, like relics of the past; in Italian I call them “fantasmi della memoria" (memory’s ghosts). The second movement also features graphic notation, in which the performer is asked to improvise on the basis of the graphic symbols in the score.

The work was made possible by the generous contribution of the following donors:
Marie Alpert, Don Arfer, Rose Marie Arons, Mark Bower, Martin Bressler, Anne Brooks, Evangeline Caliandro, Judy Gold, Philip Graziano, George Keyes, Michael Magie, Beppe Manca, Cecelia Marcus, Joe and Sally Mc Intyre, Lisa Mohlo, Warren Moe, Sean Monagle, Silvano Nova, Howard Orlin, Israel Ouval, Maureen Pricci, Franco Salvini, Carl Schachter, Craig Seligman, Jeannette Smith, Frances Smokowski, Evelyn Stierle, and Miriam Tucker. Fractured Atlas provided technical support for the commission.


I: The Propulsion of Purpose

Push, fight, struggle, more and more. Yes. (Sigh). Relentless, driven, (sigh). Push, fight, struggle, more and more. Force, push. Forcing currents. (Sigh). Push and fight, driven, focused, push and fight, push and fight, more and more! The propulsion of purpose, the compulsion of need. The purpose of propulsion, the purpose… (Sigh).
(Text by Davide Zannoni)

II: Dust from the Rubble of Dreams

Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb? What I feared has come upon me, what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness. I have no rest, but only turmoil. For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, my spirit drinks in their poison, my life is but a breath.
(Text excerpted from “The Book of Job”)

Yit'gadal v'yit'kadash sh'mei raba (May His great name be exalted and sanctified)
b'al'ma di v'ra khir'utei. (in the world which He created according to His will!)
v'yam'likh mal'khutei (May He establish His kingdom)
b'chayeikhon uv'yomeikhon (during your lifetime and during your days)
uv'chayei d'khol beit yis'ra'eil (and during the lifetimes of all the House of Israel,)
v'im'ru: amein. (And say, Amen.)
(Text excerpted from the Kaddish)

Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy? Does it please you to oppress me, while you smile at the schemes of the wicked? Even if I am innocent I cannot lift my head, for I am full of shame and drowned in my affliction. My days have passed, my plans are shattered, and so are the desires of my heart. My harp is tuned to mourning, and my flute to the sound of wailing. Though I call for help, there is no justice. God’s terrors are marshaled against me. What strength do I have, that I should still hope?
(Text excerpted from “The Book of Job”)

Y'hei sh'mei raba m'varakh (May His great name be blessed)
l'alam ul'al'mei al'maya (for ever, and to all eternity!)
Oseh shalom bim'romav (May He who makes peace in His high places)
hu ya'aseh shalom (grant peace)
aleinu v'al kol Yis'ra'eil, (for us and for all Israel
vʼim’ru amein (And say, Amen.)
(Text excerpted from the Kaddish)

III: Tantric Fire

Tantric, sensual, cosmic fire! Tantric fire, Tantric fire, sensual, cosmic, Tantric fire. Sensual pleasure, gentle touch; sacred, sensual Tantric fire. Tantric bliss. Kundalini, breath of fire, all the chakras, Tantric fire. Quiet flow, gentle touch, giving Tantric pleasure. Sacred bodies joined in sexual bliss. Sensual pleasure, gentle touch. Sacred pleasure, Tantric touch. Deep breath, quiet flow, sensual pleasure, breathe and feel all the senses.
(Text by Davide Zannoni)

IV: The Mechanism of Miracles

The mechanism of miracles, the mechanism of blessings. The mechanism of blessings, the mechanism of miracles. Finding the light, the light of the world, a path of light, the essence is love. Finding the light, receiving the light, expanding the light, love is the essence [1]. Praise be to you, my Lord, for all your creatures, especially brother sun, who lights the days for us. Praise be to you, my Lord, for sister moon and all the stars, because they’re bright and worthy and pretty. Praise be to you, my Lord, for brother wind, and for the air and for the clouds, and every kind of weather. Praise be to you, my Lord, for sister water, useful, precious, chaste and humble. Praise be to you, my Lord, for brother fire, who is playful, strong and gorgeous. Praise be to you, my Lord, for our sister mother earth, who gives us fruits and grass and colored flowers. Praise be to you, my Lord, for those who forgive out of your love, and praise be to you, my Lord, for our sister corporal death, from which no man can hide [2]. Be still, be at peace [3].

(Text [1, 3] by Davide Zannoni and [2] excerpted and translated by Davide Zannoni from St. Francis’ “Song of Creatures”)

Excerpts from The Book of Job taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission.