Peccadilloes (ca. 16')
From the composer's notes: 'It was a great honor when in 1997 the Schubert Club of St. Paul, Minnesota commissioned me to write a solo piano piece for presentation on their international series. Perhaps because I have (more or less) kept up my own piano playing over the years they considered the project a natural choice for me. Nonetheless I found it intimidating. It was not due to lack of time that I had had not written a solo piano work since college days, but due to a conviction that the solo-piano medium had written itself out decades ago. What more could be added to the clusters of Bartok, Ives, and Cowell, the ultra-serialism of Schoenberg's followers, or the inside-of-the-piano composers like George Crumb? Then I rememebered having read an article by a living widely known composer/conductor. His comment on one of the 20th century's most beloved composers, that 'Mr. B's works show a lack of taste,' was an incentive. If Mr. B's works show a lack of taste, think what I could do, I mused..And thus was born my Peccadilloes, in which each one of the six movements is based on a particular 'bad taste' motif. From the opening Allemande (an attempt to write music a la the opening credits of a Hollywood romantic comedy) to the final Boogie (patterned after the ostentatioius Harlem Stride competition pieces of the 1920s), each movement of this suite was inspired by and is enclosed within an element of what is generally considered bad taste or inferior culture. Of course I wrote these movements with the same sort of guilt and pleasure that accompany one while eating a large chocolate sundae, and would ask of the listener only to share in this sort of unsophisticated cuisine for a brief eleven minutes or so. After all, as Herman Hesse once wrote, life is a mere eternity, just long enough for a joke. And while we all hope that life is not just a mere joke, perhaps we 'serious musicians', while pursuing our work in earnest, could occasionally benefit from being a bit more lightweight.'