Andrew Ford (b. 1957)
Thin Air (2007)
for solo piano
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
(William Shakespeare, The Tempest Act IV)
Prospero's speech describes something wonderful which has just passed. My piece also begins with the end of something, which the rest of the music then attempts to remember, rekindle and relive. So the mood is at once elegiac and mercurial (Fantastico is the marking at the head of the score), the musical texture characterised by a chain of slow moving chords, which overlap and blur, and sharply etched staccato runs that scurry under and over the surface.
Thin Air was commissioned by the Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia for the quarter final stage of the 2008 competition.
A note to the performer:
The instructions regarding tempo, dynamics and pedalling are simply indications. Players should feel free to modify them and to approach the piece with a lot of freedom. Accidentals are conventional and last for a complete bar (measure).