January 28, 2020, Studio of Christine Reiter, Vienna, Austria. Performed by: Ron Hannah and Andrea Mellis, piano.
It has occurred to me of late that I am very happy in my present situation. Living in Austria, where composers are recognized and respected, is refreshing indeed. Players are finding out about my music and are performing it more and more, and having a partner who is a musician with whom I can kibitz and quarrel and learn from and meet singers and performers, is a delight indeed (see Andrea's website here).
So what could be more natural than to write a piece that she and I could play together - and why didn't I think of this long ago?
This little suite describes married life in a style that is my own dissonant tonality, not technically difficult since neither of us is a virtuoso piano player, and with opportunities for a little theatre. For example, in #1, "Opening Arguments", there are notes which each must play that are well into the range of the other player. A system of crossing each other's space must be worked out, and dubious looks exchanged.
#2, "It Could Lead to Dancing" (the punch line from an old joke), is full of fun and the players can glance at each other in happy satisfaction as the long chromatic lines unfold.
The others are self-explanatory, I think, with #4 paying homage to Handel, #5 featuring Her voice first, in the treble, and His voice second, in the bass, before they come together in mutual accord. The last is a crooked little march with a crashing mistake written right in. The players can look at each other in dismay, take a breath, and press on to the end. It got a laugh when Andrea and I premièred it. Hmm, it occurs to me now that I have assumed player 1 to be a woman and player 2 a man, but in this age of politically correct gender adjectives and pronouns, I'll leave that up to any performers who might want to play it. In any case, #3 describes a peaceful evening at home, so don't trouble me about it, just enjoy!