For Piano 4 Hands
Commissioned by the Benford Family for Nancy O’Neill Breth
The piece Fragments for piano four hands is in 2 parts. The opening “Perpetual Motion” may work as a standalone piece, and the second “Madzurka” makes more musical sense after the first part, which closes the set. The music was commissioned as an homage to pedagogue Nancy O’Neill Breth. The title Fragments reflects a fragmented bird’s eye view of a few of her musical preferences.
The opener, Perpetual Motion, is flashy, percussive, and pattern-filled. It has a wide range of dynamics and explores sounds of improvisation, though it is through-composed. It also reminds us of Latin-American influences, as the movement is written mainly in a 6/8 dance rhythm.
Following Perpetual Motion, we arrive at our second and final stop with a Romantic sounding Mazurka-style piece that keeps being interrupted and stands no chance of being developed. This Madzurka sits in the center of this work and suffers minor and major interruptions, often via introducing new musical material. However, it sustains its many invasions and eventually closes the set with an iconic Romantic period ending.