Duration: 5 minutes
First Performance: March, 1989, at the Countess of Huntingdon’s Hall, Deansway, Worcester, given by the pianist Graham Lloyd.
The Three Short Pieces for Piano Op. 5 were written over a brief period of time in 1986. They are brimming with melodic invention, harmonic ‘twists and turns’, and a whole variety of different and effective techniques.
The ‘Caprice’ is a lively vignette which has as its driving force, a melodic idea, alternating the time signatures of 3 /4, 6/8, 2/4 and 5/8. As its title suggests it is at times whimsical, but ends in a more emphatic manner.
2. Dance of the Teddy Bears
The final chord of the ‘Caprice’ leads nicely into the tonally ‘solid’ D Major of the ‘Dance of the Teddy Bears’. Rocking 6/8 rhythms give a joyous lift to the music and lead us to two closely positioned and obvious ‘surprises’. The first is a passing reference to the song ‘The Teddy Bear’s Picnic’, the second is the movements penultimate chord. In conjunction these two moments create an amusing coda to a delightful miniature.
3. Folk Tune
‘Folk Tune’ is slightly more serious in mood and is the longest of the three movements. After a short introduction the composer’s original 16 bar Folk Tune is heard. This idea is subsequently harmonised and, after a more affirmative section returns at the movements main climax point in a rhapsodic guise, reaching fff at its close. After a short restatement of the introductory material, ‘Folk Tune’ ends on a ‘Tierce de Picardie’, and brings to a close this satisfying musical triptych.
Music Sample: Dance of the Teddy Bears Op. 5
© Ian Venables,