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.
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).