Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-n7x5d Total loading time: 0.341 Render date: 2021-11-29T20:09:27.902Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

6 - Piano Music

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 September 2018

Stephen Gutman
Affiliation:
Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Weill Hall in New York
Get access

Summary

I FIRST CAME ACROSS Simon Holt's early Piano Piece (revised twenty years later as Black Lanterns) as a young and enthusiastic pianist, looking out scores and eager to explore the music of my own time. It was apparent from the facsimile score that here was the arrival of an exceptional and original voice. Even the notation delivered something fresh – where were the flats?! The music had attractive qualities. It spoke an unsentimental, modernist language. The jump-cuts of its montage-like form gave it a dramatic and visceral immediacy. Furthermore the pianist in me recognised the composer's feel for the sonority of the instrument and his sense of confidence in the writing for it. At times, virtuosic gestures seem to have been written to leap across the full range of the keyboard with something of the exhilarating aplomb which the young Boulez had brought to the piano in the first movement of his Sonata nº 1. But it was the compelling nature of the music that chimed deeply with me. The work seemed to have the same quality as found by Thomas Adès in the music of Janáček: ‘the sap of feeling is there in the music from the very beginning, and that is what drives it’. A performance of such music would require of the performer a rare combination of bravura with poetry, something which I found an irresistible challenge.

In what follows, an overview of Holt's piano writing is followed by notes specific to various pieces.

Holt's earliest extant work is for piano, composed while he was still a student at the Royal Northern College of Music. Written to fit on a postcard, a postcard piece (1979) was sent to his future teacher, Anthony Gilbert, to greet him on return from Australia (see Introduction). Holt has since produced a sizeable amount of work for solo piano, considerably more than can fit on a single CD. His ensemble works are centrally important, and those which include piano sometimes privilege it over the other instruments in ways which have structural outcomes as well as alluring colouristic ones. eco-pavan (H 29, 1998), whose sonorous interactions are extraordinary, is such a work, and the only one marked explicitly as being for piano solo and ensemble in the score.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Music of Simon Holt
, pp. 128 - 144
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2017

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • Piano Music
    • By Stephen Gutman, Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Weill Hall in New York
  • Edited by David Charlton
  • Book: The Music of Simon Holt
  • Online publication: 01 September 2018
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781787440692.008
Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

  • Piano Music
    • By Stephen Gutman, Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Weill Hall in New York
  • Edited by David Charlton
  • Book: The Music of Simon Holt
  • Online publication: 01 September 2018
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781787440692.008
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Piano Music
    • By Stephen Gutman, Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Weill Hall in New York
  • Edited by David Charlton
  • Book: The Music of Simon Holt
  • Online publication: 01 September 2018
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781787440692.008
Available formats
×