Five Nocturnes


Five Nocturnes


for piano (2012)

  • Premiere: 22 November 2012 / Teo Gheorghiu / The Louvre
  • Instrumentation: pft
  • Duration: 10'
  • Dedication: for Iarlaith Carter
  • All orders are digital downloads. To order paper scores please visit our print music distributoion partner, Theodore Front.

Program Note

Arranged in the form of a nocturnal suite, together the Five Nocturnes for piano tell the story of a family settling down for the night in a sprawling old Victorian somewhere in Dutchess County, New York. 

First Nocturne sets the end-of-day thoughts of the husband, recalling his brother, recently deceased. The outer A sections are chromatic, moody, somber, and restless. The contrasting B section lets in a little harmonic light. The inner voices are troubled.

Second Nocturne turns the father to the business of settling his six-year-old son down for bed. The scrambling open fifths of the melody skitter from one hand to the other, unwilling to cadence. Finally, a truce is called, and the fifths drift off, one hopes, to sleep.

Third Nocturne is a song without words for husband and wife, children safely asleep in their beds. The unsettled melody in the right hand eases in and out of five over a limpidly waltzing left hand. The day is discussed.

The parents' repose is interrupted by the urgent requests for water of their three-year-old son in Fourth Nocturne. A sip of cool water, a quick tousel of the hair, the beginning of a story, and ... lights out.

Everyone but the father is asleep. He listens to the breathing of the old house, his sons, and his wife in Fifth Nocturne, remembers a fleeting image or two of domestic tranquility from his own childhood, connects it tenuously to the present, and turns out the light.

The suite as a whole is dedicated to Iarlaith Carter.

(Banner photo: Teo Gheorghiu)