I wrote my piano quartet New York New York mainly in summer 2001 with a view to entering it in the Uussävel composition competition organized by the Society of Finnish Composers. I decided on the combination of piano and string trio mainly because the final round of the competition would be held at the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival. I had written a piano quartet to a commission from Kuhmo in 1996, but I was not pleased with how that had turned out. This was my chance for a rematch!
Technically speaking, I mainly employed the piano and the strings in straightforward opposition. The strings have a lot of rhythmic unison material, particularly in the fast sections, which the piano punctuates with martial flourishes and octave passages and, of course, the boogie woogie accompaniment that appears towards the middle.
The first version of the piece was completed in September 2001, and I printed it out only a few hours before the planes hit the towers in New York. The images of the disaster on TV had a devastating effect on me, not least because my wife Sanna and I had taken a trip to New York to celebrate our engagement in the previous spring, and we had been to the top of the WTC. Subsequently, I decided to rewrite the strategy of the piece so that it now ends in a suspended, ‘In memoriam’ mood.
© Seppo Pohjola Instrumentation
vln, vla, vlc, pno Category
Chamber Works Premiere
Ensemble Capriccio, Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, final round of the Uussävel Competition, July 26, 2002. 1st prize in the Uussävel Competition in 2002 PDF for promotional use
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