Never Quite Said (8’00)
About this Work
Never Quite Said is loosely based on the music of the mbira from the Shona people of Africa. The piece is made up of a cycle of 12 “chords” (intervals mostly,) which only slowly reveals itself over the course of the piece, like a rotating clock face that is kept mostly in darkness but is slowly illuminated over time. Much of the piano figuration is made up of jagged contours outlining not only the chords but a increasingly complex series of overtones, mimicking the rich harmonics of the mbira when its bars are plucked. Sparse and haphazard at first, the music slowly gains continuity and momentum, assembling itself into a kind of passacaglia nearly half-way through. The speed increases until we arrive at a climactic, jagged chorale based on the passacaglia theme. The music dies away with a series of soft, flickering piano figurations outlining, for the first time, the entire cycle of chords. My sincere thanks go to Martin Scherzinger, who taught me about this music and how it worked, and gave me some wonderful ideas about how to think harmonically about the piece.