Glenn Stallcop       Composer, Performer


Piano Journal Volume 1 (1975)

for Solo Piano

2 Mvts., 40 Mins.


Program Notes

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).