Boat Song

for solo piano

Christopher Fox

🔍 Preview Score
Logged-in user discounts applied
Log in to get discounts (now or at checkout)
Ask us about multi-copy choral discounts


for solo piano

Ask about this work
Composer Christopher Fox
Year of Composition 2004
Duration ca.3'

Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-cf1bs1


Boat Song was written as part of the TONE ROADS project curated by Daniel Matej for the 15th iteration of Evenings of New Music in Bratislava in November 2004 and was premiered by Daan Vandewalle. Daniel Matej asked for short piano pieces which ‘related (in any way) to Schoenberg’s Funf Klavierstücke or to Ives’s Three Page Sonata, or to both of them’. So most of the left-hand harmonies and some of those in the right hand of Boat Song come from the Adagio of Ives’s Three Page Sonata, while elements of the right hand towards the end come from the last of Schoenberg’s Funf Klavierstücke. The rest of the piece is mine. Well, almost…

Ever since I first heard them I have been intrigued by the psychology of Schoenberg’s atonal Charakter-Stücke – alien musical ideas floating within familiar musical forms – so I have set Arnold and Charles adrift in a boat which I have stolen from another composer. A comparison of Boat Song and Mendelssohn’s ‘Venetian Gondola Song’, from his Lieder ohne Wörter, op.62, No.5, will reveal striking formal, textural and rhythmic similarities. Why? Ives and Schoenberg always claimed to have made their musical discoveries independently, without having heard each other’s music, but they probably both knew Mendelssohn’s music. And the left hand rhythm in the Adagio of the Three Page Sonata is almost a ‘barcarola’, which in turn is a form which Schoenberg never used. Boat Song is dedicated to my daughter Anna, who was learning some of the Mendelssohn Lieder ohne Wörter while I was writing this piece; I had thought she would be able to play it but, in the end, it turned out to be a little too difficult for her!