Nickitas Demos

Toys & Hammers



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    Toys and Hammers_excerpt

Toys & Hammers (2003)

Nickitas Demos

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Duration: 14'

Early in 2003, I was invited, by Atlanta based pianist, Laura Gordy, to compose a new work for solo piano. I was anxious to work with Laura again, having written a piece for her and three other colleagues the year before. I was also intrigued by Laura’s ideas about the character of this new work. Based upon our initial conversations, I learned that she sought a work that was a study in extremes: on the one hand intense, virtuosic, and driven – “music from the gut;” on the other hand, rhapsodic and meditative in sections. Added to these broad requests was a desire to incorporate a toy piano and small percussion into the piece.  Toys & Hammers is the result of our collaborative ideas.

Although conceived and written as a single movement, the piece may also be viewed as a sonatina for solo piano. It is divided into three clear sections or small movements: fast – slow –fast with a short codetta attached at the end – all played without pause. A limited number of musical materials, however, are highly integrated throughout the work superimposing a single movement structure over the various sections of the composition.

While having no particular “program,” the work, nevertheless, revolves around three basic and abstract musical ideas: the juxtaposition between regular and irregular rhythmic patterns, growth of relatively complex structures from simple initial presentations, and an exploration of sonority through the use of the toy piano and other small percussion instruments. The use of these auxiliary instruments by the soloist is the reason I have referred to the piece as having been written for extended solo piano.

This piece is dedicated, with much appreciation, to Laura Gordy.