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5 Centuries of Keyboard Music
Gillispie, John

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Christian Mason: Inner Landscapes for Piano Quintet (Score & parts)

Inner Landscapes for Piano Quintet (Score & parts). Mason, Christian

Inner Landscapes for Piano Quintet (Score & parts)


Christian Mason


Piano et quatuor à cordes

Editeur Breitkopf & Hartel
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Based on three piano pieces of the same names, these movements for piano quintet may be performed separately or as a collection, (in which case they should be played in the given order). Though each piece is aimed at a different technical level (I. Elementary, II. Advanced, III. Intermediate), they have a common artistic aim: to connect musical expression with poetic inspiration. In particular, these pieces meditate on the emotional connection between our interior life and the vast and varied landscapes of the natural world all around us.

While composing I found myself re-reading Kathleen Raine (one of my favourite poets) and was struck by her statement (in the foreword to her Selected Poems): "‘Nature-poetry' is not what we write about nature, but rather the language of images in which nature daily speaks to us of the timeless, age-old mystery in which we participate. Nature communicates today what it told the earliest of humankind, and what it will tell future generations when our modern high-rise cities are no more. Meanings, moods, the whole scale of our inner experience, finds in nature the ‘correspondences' through which we may know our boundless selves. Nature is the common, universal language, understood by all."

What she says about nature resonates with my understanding of music, which also sometimes affords us an opportunity to know ‘our boundless selves'. And I am especially interested in the way that sounds - which, as vibrations in the air, are another aspect of nature - can reveal and heighten our sense of connectedness to ourselves and our surroundings.

Each movement is inspired by a single stanza from the poem "Amo Ergo Sum" by Kathleen Raine, and I would encourage anyone playing these pieces to devote time to internalising the words as well as the music, for they may contain the key to an accurate expression. As such, the relevant words are quoted at the start of each score.

Inner Landscapes is dedicated to Joe Browning, Lexy Oliver and Omar Shahryar.
(Christian Mason)

Because I love
The sun pours out its rays of living gold
Pours out its gold and silver on the sea.

Because I love
The earth upon her astral spindle winds
Her ecstasy-producing dance.

Because I love
Clouds travel on the winds through wide skies,
Skies wide and beautiful, blue and deep.

© The Literary Estate of Kathleen Raine, reproduced from The Collected Poems of Kathleen Raine Golgonooza Press, 2000

(ISMN 9790004187982)