for solo piano

James Erber

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for solo piano

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Composer James Erber

Year of Composition



ca. 3' 40"

Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-je1q1


Early in 2003, the American writer and polymath Walt Mundkowsky introduced me to Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics. Qfwfq (composed between August and November 2003) is a token of thanks for this and other favours. The piece’s skittering counterpoint (in up to four parts) is an attempt to portray in music the quirky sense of humour of the book’s cartoonish central figure Qfwfq.

The music’s ground rules change subtly at the start of each of the work’s three sections, as well as after the three short interjections of very quiet chordal music, giving the piece a gnomic character very much in keeping with Qfwfq’s own very mercurial nature. Qfwfq is dedicated to Walt Mundkowsky and was first performed on 18th December 2006 at The Warehouse, London SE1 by Jonathan Powell.

I am grateful to John Fallas for suggesting the official pronunciation of the work’s title – “kfoofk”.