Impromptus (2016)
+Program Notes

Impromptus (2015-2016)

Music by Samuel Adams
Commissioned by Music Accord Inc. for Emanuel Ax

Scored for solo piano

I) 10.17.2017

II) after Schubert

III) After My Very Young Life

I created these three pieces with the intention that they would be performed as links between each of the Four Impromptus D 935 by Franz Schubert. I imagine they could also be performed on their own—in any order or perhaps individually—but for now they exist as works whose forms and harmonic structures serve a larger seven-movement arch.

The process of writing the pieces was a terrific excuse to reacquaint myself with Schubert's crystalline works (I used to play the Impromptus as a young pianist) and to re-discover their clarity, patience, and resonance.

The music I created aims to assume a similar posture. Each impromptu is carefully constructed but rooted in a simple impulse: the first, a kind of graphed organism made from the DNA of Impromptus nos. 3 and 4 D 899; the second, a symmetrical ABA form with material lifted from American folk music and the Sonata in B-flat major D 960; the third, an introduction and thirty-one repetitions of an unsourced cadence.

I began sketching these works in the fall of 2015 and completed nos. II and III the following winter. I completed no. I in July, 2016. Sincerest thanks to Emanuel Ax for this wonderful opportunity. - Samuel Carl Adams

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Composer: Samuel Carl Adams

Instrumentation: solo piano

Premiering Artists: Emanuel Ax, piano


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Samuel Carl Adams
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Emanuel Ax
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