Apertif is a reworking and adaptation of the first track of the piano solo album, Downhill, also released in 2019. The album tries to display several examples of a collection of events that seem to flow from an initial trigger. The series of events seem to flow as easily as a ball rolling downhill. Some triggers, such as an “apertif,” are relatively harmless, while others, such as lies and arguments are much less so. The resulting events can always be slowed or stopped, but not without serious effort and reflection.
The events triggered by Apertif take the form of social interactions amongst a group of friends over dinner. Interactions that become more and more personal, sometimes funny, sometimes heartfelt, while at other times more biting. The music seems to evolve around certain personalities, one rather facilitating, another stronger and somewhat dismissive, one prone to being a little alarmist, and another one somewhat overly sentimental. The acquaintances discuss things light-heartedly at first, commenting back and forth. Gradually, they start adding a little more humor and satire until someone becomes a little offended and the mood becomes a little uncomfortable. The conversation then begins to diffuse and dissolve, as the music drifts into the upper register, and ends with a promise to get together again.
I originally thought I was going to write a piece for string orchestra, but gradually started adding other instruments, until I ended up writing a work for a small chamber orchestra. I was determined to not use percussion, but did add a marimba to the harp and piano to create a small but vital section of its own. The work is, not surprisingly, meant to be a concert opener.