Turbulent Times

Simon Rackham

‘Turbulent Times’, was composed in the early autumn of 2020, for two pianos. At the moment of writing the world was facing increasing Covid 19 infections, the US election was just around the corner and Brexit negotiations were entering a critical stage, so there was a high level of uncertainty both politically and from the point of view of health. The first piece could be subtitled ‘Spring’ where Covid 19 started introducing a new uncertainty. The second piece could be ‘Summer’ where for a while there was more optimism, and part three could be ‘Autumn’ with the problems caused by the virus rising again. The pieces are composed diatonically in B flat major, and all are in the same time signature of ‘six four’ (though with different tempo markings). Six four allows for many different divisions, for example 4 against 3, and in the third section the second piano is really playing in bars of five eight and seven eight against the first piano’s more regular beat. Throughout the music there is a constant interweaving of the material between the two pianos, and some elements are used across the pieces.

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