Rory Boyle: Studies for the One in the Middle [download]
for concert grand piano
- Rondo 2. Intermezzo 3. Toccata
These three pieces exploit some of the tonal colours and sonorities which are possible by using the “sostenuto” pedal on concert grand pianos – the pedal referred to by several of the composer’s pupils as “the one in the middle”, hence the title. This pedal keeps the dampers lifted only over those notes whose controlling keys are depressed at the moment when the pedal is applied. They were written in the summer of 1998 at a time when the composer’s sister was diagnosed with a terminal illness and all three are infused with a bitterness and anger which is most marked in the second study whose outer slow bell-like sections flank a turbulent central passage marked con rabbia (with anger). The final brief Toccatamakes use of harmonics activated by the use of the sostenuto pedal. The studies are dedicated to the pianist Peter Donohoe.
Recording available by James Willshire on Rory Boyle, Piano Music CD (Delphian DCD34098).