Suite for Prepared Piano, Volume 1 (2018)

in nine movements

Bolts and tack inside the Bluthner at Alice’s Loft

Suite for Prepared Piano, Volume I


Nine movements  (15’),

Solo piano, light preparation.

A collection of piano miniatures which I started during a weekend in composing isolation in the countryside before Christmas 2017 and completed in spring 2018.

The preparation for these miniatures is fairly light — brass bolts are inserted between 14 strings, creating bell-like tones; blue tack is laid on several others, giving a plucked, stopped sound; most other notes sound as normal. The nine movements come to around 15 minutes, each one lasting between 45 seconds and several minutes.

preparing the Bluthner at Alice’s Loft

Movement 4 is framed by a solemn declaration, before embarking on a playful jazz-like theme, 5 has cascades of arpeggios, Number 2 has a melancholy theme heard over a minimalistic ostinato, Number 7 makes a feature of the contrast between the bell and plucked tones, 8 is reams of arpeggios with changing numbers of semiquavers, while Movement 9 completes the set with a child-like, music-box ditty.

I was lucky enough to have the wonderful pianist Kamilla Arku record the suite on a lovely Bluthner at Alice’s Loft studio. Thanks very much to Denise Mangiardi and her team Joe Wensley and assistant Antonio, who not only did a fantastic job but made the whole experience relaxed and enjoyable.

Kamilla will be performing this suite next February in a concert series in London, so watch this space….

Kamilla Arku recording my Suite for Prepared Piano

Score available on request. You can listen to the pieces here: