12 Timely Pieces

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Lyric Fantasy (mp3 format)

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Original compositions for piano, woodwinds and strings  

Lyric Fantasy (published by Furore Music-Germany)
Lyric Fantasy for Piano and String Orchestra received its world premiere performance in Canberra, on the 4th of September 1999 by the Musica da Camera Orchestra with piano soloist Colin Forbes. This live recording is from the concert.

Lyric Fantasy – First Movement. Track 1 [4:49]
This two movement work begins with a pulsating figure for the strings, which moves outwards chromatically, employing lush chordal structures.

The piano enters with a flourish with eastern sounding soon after, moving through both vigorous and lyrical themes. The mood of the first movement is bright, containing many lyrical melodies, some built on the pentatonic sale, shared between the instruments. The slower middle section of the movement develops the opening chromatic theme and then builds to a gentle climax in a major tonality.

Lyric Fantasy – Second Movement. Track 2 [4:57]
By contrast the second movement begins with a minor theme and explores interesting harmonies and textures and pulsating figures and jazzy rhythms.
The central section builds, featuring dramatic piano figures and then recaps some of the melodic figures from the first movement, followed by a solo cadenza by the piano and the final chord resolution of the piece.

Saxophone Quartet (published by Furore Music-Germany)
This work was commissioned by the Sydney Saxophone Quartet.
It has received performances on Australian national radio and at a concert of Women composer’s works in Italy. The recorded performance is a multi-track recording by the talented performer Gregory Mayson. The second movement of this work is included for study in Margaret's high school text Accent on Music.

Saxophone Quartet - First Movement. Track 3 [1:57]
The first movement in a moderate speed is based on a descending syncopated theme in 7/4 time which moves to a sing 3/4 section and then finishes in 5/4.

Saxophone Quartet – Second Movement. Track 4 [1:34]
The second movement is livelier and juxtaposes lively rhythmic chordal effects
with flowing melodic lines.

Saxophone Quartet – Third Movement. Track 5 [1:49]
In the final movement which is again at a moderate speed uses repeated sixteenth notes and figures which are contrasted with more flowing melodic lines.

Images. Track 6 [1:53]
Performed by Gregory Mayson on Soprano Saxophone and Margaret Brandman on piano.

This is a lively jazz influenced work in ternary form. The Soprano Saxophone and Piano share the syncopated opening theme, which is contrasted with a more lyrical central section of the work. It finishes with a restatement of the opening theme.

Permutations. Track 7 [3:11]
Performed by Gregory Mayson -Clarinet and Margaret Brandman - piano.
This is a one-movement work in ternary form with many hints of modern jazz harmonies. Beginning with rippling right hand figures, matched by the clarinet, the work then progresses to a slower section making use of long notes in the lower 'chalameau' register of the clarinet. In the final section the earlier motifs are developed and re-used.

Performed by Gregory Mayson - Flute and Margaret Brandman - piano.
This work is a modal work in three movements. This work has been set for the AMEB Flute syllabus.

Antics - First Movement. Track 8 [1:51]
The first movement is in the Aeolian Mode and makes substantial use of contrapuntal techniques.

Antics - Second Movement. Track 9 [1:52]
The second movement is in the unusual time signature of 7/4.
The work which is written in the Phrygian Mode, begins with a haunting introductory section reminiscent of Japanese flute music, and then continues in tempo.

Antics - Third Movement. Track 10 [2:31]
The final movement, is in the Ionian Mode, ( Major scale). This work is written using a swing feel in triple time and features improvisatory sections for both flute and piano.

Flights of Fancy
Performed by Gregory Mayson -Flute, Margaret Brandman - piano.
This work was also set for the AMEB Flute syllabus. This three movement work, offers the performers opportunities for improvisation over given structures.

Flights of Fancy - First Movement. Track 11 [3:47]
The first movement is two contrasting sections which alternate. (A B A B2 A B3 A) The A section uses a lively modern jazz theme while the second section is a slow moving using rather ambient chord progression. Each time the B section returns it is dealt with differently. Firstly the flute states the theme in long notes. The second time this section appears, the flute improvises over the chords, and the third time, the piano improvises over the progression. The movement then ends with a restatement of the A theme.

Flights of Fancy - Second Movement. Track 12 [1:35]
The second movement is played at an adagio tempo allowing more lyrical themes to be shared between the flute and piano.

Flights of Fancy - Third Movement. Track 13 [2:36]
The final movement final movement explores the 7/4 time signature and a modal tonality.

Jazz elements are worked into the composition, along with ostinati and once again the flute has room for improvisation over the ostinato pattern in the piano part. Then both piano and flute improvise together before the final statement of the 7/4 ostinato theme.

Twelve Timely Pieces
This set of short character pieces were written for pianists looking for fresh ideas to study and perform for concerts, eisteddfods or examinations.

Based on engaging melodies with intriguing rhythmic twists they explore major
and minor keys of up to two sharps and two flats and a variety of time signatures from 2/4 to 7/4.

The styles range from simple two part settings to meditative pieces with chromatic harmonies.

Happy Happy Joy Joy. Track 14 [0:48]
Key C, Time signature 2/4, Grading 1-2
This piece uses an ostinato style figure based on harmonic 4ths and 5ths.
The piece is unified by the introductory theme, to which the words of the title can be sung,
which appears again in the middle of the song and also at the end.

Mongolian Knights. Track 15 [0:31]
Key Am, Time signature 2/4, Grading 1
This contrasting piece, uses similar harmonic devices to the first tune, but in different context. The harmonic fifths create an eastern sound evoking the Knights in the title.

Charlies Cheerful Chune. Track 16 [0:31]
Key C, Time signature 3/4, Grading 1-2
The bright rising theme of this piece covers the range of a sixth. The dotted quarter note figure is featured. There is use of imitation and also of descending left hand lines which create interesting harmonies.

Sammy's Sad Soul. Track 17 [0:39]
Key Am, Time signature 3/4, Grading 1-2
As a counterpart to the previous piece, this tune uses a falling theme over the range of a sixth in the minor key. There is much use of phrasing and slurs to create an interesting texture and bring out various melodic ideas.

Celtic Country Dance. Track 18 [1:03]
Key G, Time signature 4/4, Grading 2
Once again this piece uses the appealing sound of harmonic fifths in a left rhythmic accompaniment pattern which suggests a country dance. The harmonies in the first section of the piece introduce some chromatic movements, while at the end of the piece the use of modern harmonies add a cheerful brightness to the sound.

The Lonesome Bat. Track 19 [0:37]
Key Em, Time signature 4/4, Grading 2
This two part work allows the hands to have a conversation with each other.
It is a good study in mixed eighth and quarter note rhythmic patterns.

No.5 is Alive. Track 20 [0:33]
Key F, Time signature 5/4, Grading 2 -3
This piece uses a Jazz treatment of the 5/4 rhythm underpinning a gently flowing melody.

Spider on the Mirror. Track 21 [1:03]
Key Dm, Time signature 5/4, Grading 3-4
Listed as an AMEB examination piece for piano Grade Three.
The theme of this piece explores the curious keyboard phenomenon of the exact mirror of black and white notes, moving outwards chromatically from D. The piece is in ternary form with a coda section at the end. The left hand in the middle section creates another jazzy rhythm, punctuated by chord clusters in the right hand. After the repeat of section A, the coda uses more intriguing chordal figures based on the mirror movement of the notes moving out from D. The final two bars have octave leaps suggesting the movement of a spider covering a large area.

Minnamurra Rainforest Dreaming. Track 22 [0:50]
Key D, Time signature 6/4, Grading 3-4
Listed as an AMEB examination piece for Piano for Leisure syllabus Grade Three.
This work is more ambient. The left and broken chord figures float through the sounds of the 6th, 7th, and 9th chords. The work is played in rubato tempo so that the right hand dreamy melody can be gently played. The 6/4 time signature is split in the less usual manner, in groups of two. Performers can count the work in 3/2 if they wish.

Sleepy Creepy Ghost Story. Track 23 [0:46]
Key Bm, Time signature 6/4, Grading 3
Once again use is made of harmonic fourths, to achieve a rather spooky effect. The creepy quality is created by the alternating step wise movement of the accompanying chords and the open sound of the final chord, which does not contain a third. A ghostly chord with no ‘body’!

Morse Code (Code B) Track 24 [0:40]
Key Bb, Time signature 7/4, Grading 3-4
As the name suggests, the opening percussive figure reminds the listener of Morse code figures. The treatment of 7/4 in this case, is highly rhythmic somewhat like a Toccata. To achieve full effect the piece should be played quite fast.

Snow Gums in the Moonlight. Track 25 [2:04]
Key Gmi, Time signature 7/4, Grading 4-5
Beginning with a one-bar introduction which uses some very jazzy chords, this rather ambient work uses rising arpeggiated figures in the left hand to accompany the right hand flowing melody. At other times the flowing lines are shared between the hands. The second section of the work uses the theme in a higher register of the instrument, with the richer sound of harmonic 6ths complementing the melody. The melody finishes on a Minor 9th chord.

Bear Boogie Bounce. Track 26 [2:08]
This piece, in B flat Major is one of the pieces from Margaret's book The Blues and Boogie Woogie. The pieces in this book incorporate the blues chord progression in both major and minor keys, various Boogie-Woogie patterns for left hand and the swing time feel.

Swingin' 'Bear Boogie. Track 27 [2:25]
(From The Blues and Boogie-Woogie)
This piece is in the key of D minor and in a contrasting mood to Bear Boogie Bounce.
It is played somewhat slower and the boogie pattern used has a semi-latin feel. The middle section uses highly syncopated right hand chords to achieve a very swinging effect.

This next group of pieces is from the book of Modal pieces with Contemporary effects, Contemporary Modal Pieces. The titles of the pieces are all of Australian native animals and the pieces capture the unique character of each animal.

Pretty Faced Wallaby. Track 28 [2:14]
(From Contemporary Modal Pieces)
This work, in the Aeolian Mode on A, is in ternary form. The chords used in the first section are decorated with upper extension notes to achieve a rich harmonic palette. The hopping effects of the wallaby are suggested by the opening syncopated theme which continues throughout the first and last sections. The middle section has a rather hypnotic effect achieved by the repetition of
a four-bar contrapuntal figure at different pitches.

The Ring-tail Possum. Track 29 [0:43]
(From Contemporary Modal Pieces)
This work is in the Dorian Mode beginning on G and is written with changing time signatures in almost every bar to achieve a flowing effect. The widely-spaced unison notes require an equally good technique in both hands. The rapid, curling sixteenth note figures suggest the tail of the possum. The musical effect reminiscent of the improvisations of Jazz Pianist -Oscar Peterson.

The Wombat. Track 30 [1:12]
(From Contemporary Modal Pieces)
This canonic piece is in the Phrygian Mode, is in four sections. In section A, the opening theme is imitated by the left hand at a two-bar distance. In section B, the theme, appears in the bass part while a counter-melody is introduced in the treble. In section C, these two melodic ideas are swapped into the other parts.
In the final section (D) the canon reappears with a four-octave distance between the parts. Pianists who have learned to play by intervals and by the feel
of the spacing between the hands will find this quite easy to play.

The Spiny Ant-Eater. Track 31 [0:42]
(From Contemporary Modal Pieces)
This short work is based on a tone row and follows the rules of serial composition. It uses clusters of chromatic notes to achieve the effects of the animal’s spines.

The Emu. Track 32 [0:34]
(From Contemporary Modal Pieces)
This work is in the Locrian Mode, a theoretical mode which was not used by early composers but has become useful in works of a jazz nature, as it is the mode which suits the half-diminished seventh chord. The large stature of the Emu is suggested by the four-note chords. The piece has a rather unfinished feeling, owing to the sound of the diminished chord.