PIANO JOURNAL is a radical
solution to the idea of stream-of-consciousness spontaneity. I
decided to eliminate the "structural imperative" completely by
writing as if the piece were never going to end. I was, at this
time becoming more and more influenced by the idea of
improvisation. In this work, I attempted to capture the inspiration
of the music, the spontaneous urge that one would hear if the music were
improvised. This music is obviously not improvised, however, I
believed I did capture the moment of inspiration. Several moments
are very successful in that respect.
Instead of dealing with a
large formal structure, I concentrated on spinning out a repeating small
scale structure. The initial idea was to use an abstract version
of the Blues (A-A-B), and that is apparent in various hierarchical
dimensions, especially early in the first volume. However, the
structure quickly became even more general. It became something
like: New Idea-Departure-Return-Different Departure-New Idea, etc.
As I wrote more, I became more adept at the concept, and totally ignored
the idea of large scale structure. Inspiration became the purpose.
Stylistically, the work
develops a bluesy-popish-classical hybrid. Over the course of the
entire journal the style changes, refines, and takes off in entirely
different directions, especially in the 3rd and 4th Volume.
Unfortunately, I never recorded those volumes, and they never really
came to influence my later work. The first two volumes provide a
distinct bridge between City Music (1974) and the Dance Suites
(1977). The work also is a true journal with dated entries.
This is one of my favorite works. I worked on it for about
eighteen months. I foresaw that it was not likely to be performed
live, so I split the volumes into units more susceptible to recording
(which at the time meant vinyl LP's).