Jonathan Pitkin

CON SPIRITO for piano and Yamaha Disklavier (2006-7)

Duration: 14 mins
Click here to see the SCORE.

By the time I started work on Con Spirito, I had been toying with the idea of writing for Disklavier for several years. One major attraction of the instrument was its vastly increased technical capability: passages of otherwise inconceivable speed, density and rhythmic complexity could be executed with almost nonchalant ease.
At least as important, though, was the dramatic potential of an instrument which could be made to seem as if it was playing itself. For there is a potent sense of absence when a player piano recording is played back - one can’t help but wonder who made the recording, when, and where he/she is now.
But if this implies that there is an inherent ‘pastness’ in player piano music, the addition of a live performer to play alongside the mechanical instrument in Con Spirito is intended to create a sense that the other ‘player’ is very much present in the here and now, listening and responding to its human counterpart as he/she prompts, competes and ultimately achieves a strange sort of union with this ghostly presence(/absence). Over the course of this dialogue, you may begin to feel that the Disklavier has an intelligence, or even a personality of its own.

Audio extracts:

(Performer: Kerry Yong)

Other works involving electronics

Study: Boots…
Playing Up