“I started writing these etudes in November of 2011, and I finished them in February 2012,” said the composer Richard Danielpour on Tuesday night at Ingram Hall. “That’s just four months, but in a sense these etudes have been 20 years in the making.”
Danielpour took inspiration for these pieces from Claude Debussy’s celebrated 12 Etudes for Piano, centering each of these 12 pieces around a different musical or technical challenge: One is centered around fast scales; another is composed of full-sounding chords; another is played with the left hand on the keys and the right hand inside the piano plucking the strings. Each of the 12 pieces is dedicated to a different pianist with whom Danielpour has been affiliated, including Leon Fleisher and Yefim Bronfman, and one apiece dedicated to Dorfman, Nies and Wait.
Commissioned by Vanderbilt University and given their premiere on Dec. 4, 2012 at the Blair School of Music, a trio of pianists divided the challenging works: Mark Wait, Craig Nies and Amy Dorfman. The new Etudes push the limits of piano technique and will be an important addition to the repertoire, nice compliments to Danielpour’s two collections of Preludes, entitled The Enchanted Garden [Book 1, Book 2].