VITESSES for piano (2004‑5)

Duration: 14 mins
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The basic musical ideas with which much of Vitesses is concerned are set out, in a way which could scarcely be any clearer, in its opening bars: repeated notes, crescendos and accelerations are combined into phrases which build up gradually before moving away in a burst of energy. The French word ‘vitesses’ can mean ‘gears’ as well as simply ‘speeds’ – the title can therefore be taken to allude to numerous passages in which the surface of the music accelerates to what seems to be a maximum speed, only for another, slower-moving and perhaps hitherto unnoticed element of the texture to step into the musical foreground, and itself begin to get faster. These gradual accumulations of momentum are initially contrasted with (then could broadly be said to supersede) sections in which different musical ideas cut to one another unexpectedly.
The piece consists of two movements: the longer, more exploratory first paves the way for a shorter, more relentlessly energetic second.

Audio extracts:

(Performer: Kan Tomita)