two pianos


For Melvyn Tan's 50th birthday celebration.

The ideas that finally found their way into this piece presented themselves to me in 2004 when a cousin unexpectedly had twins. I imagined a raucous competitive discourse, essentially saying the same thing, but not quite at the same time and not quite at the same pitch. The idea remained abstract however and an obvious medium did not present itself at that time. When Melvyn Tan asked for a two piano piece, I revisited the ideas and they joyously and raucously (these are the instructions in the score) found their element. The two pianists play throughout in keys a semitone apart (E major and F major) and there is much play with close canonic writing and occasional fleeting allusions, i.e. D.Scarlatti, Chabrier and Yankee Doodle. Quite possibly, both pianists could play in the same key, but the lemony astringent version which I prefer would be lost.

© Julian Grant 2006

First performed 12 October 2006 by Melvyn Tan and Ronald Brautigam. Wigmore Hall, London W1.