Chamber music, particularly in the form of a solo recital, is commonly perceived as a more intimate affair than other staged musical performances. The audience’s proximity to the solo musician and their subsequent ability to witness clearly the performer’s relationship with their instrument are no doubt responsible for this perception. In for solo piano these intimate relationships — the physical one between performer and instrument, and that perceptual one between audience and instrumentalist — are foregrounded and the perception of intimacy heightened. The pianist is instructed to perform at volumes from moderately quiet to almost inaudible. Indeed, the quietest moments may fail to speak. As the instrumentalist concentrates on coaxing sound from the piano the audience must listen with increasing concentration in order to hear the noises produced. Eventually, the sound of the performer acting upon the instrument — the physical intimacy of performance — is all that can be heard.
10 – 20 minutes
Pianist requires a bowl gong or similar
May 2010: Orlando Shamlou, University of Leeds
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