A House of Ghosts

twelve short pieces for solo piano

Francis Pott

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twelve short pieces for solo piano

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Composer Francis Pott
Year of Composition 1997
Duration ca.23'
Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-fp1hog1


These little pieces were written at intervals. The last of them, which I have no memory of writing, seems to have emerged a bare two days after the death of my father in 1983, and is, I suppose, a kind of blessing and farewell. But the dates at the foot of the rest seem to suggest that it was a catalyst of sorts. Many of these miniatures were written during very busy years of university administration and teaching. While not exactly the product of white heat of invention, they attest that the urge to commit something to paper somehow resisted being entirely eliminated. They are best viewed as a disparate collection of stray thoughts and modest ideas which accumulated haphazardly, a little like an intermittent diary, but which one day suggested themselves as a set simply because by then there were quite a few of them, each looking a little lonely on its own. I brought them together more for convenience of presentation than through any integrated intention. The pianist is invited to play them in any grouping or sequence, according to whim or occasion, even though the order given is probably my own preferred one for a complete performance at one sitting.

On another level, with one or two exceptions these little pieces set out to offer something approachable – but reasonably thought-provoking – to pianists who might well be
non-professional adult players, possibly returning to the piano after some time away from it or else making their musical way for the first time in maturity. Many composers today seem to look slightly askance at ‘received techniques’ of composition, as if their exercise stood entirely apart from original creativity and were somehow separated from it by the exercise of a supposedly arid craftsmanship. But the present pieces make no apology for seeing indebtedness to an inherited past as a necessary – and flexible – proposition within the general spectrum of composition. The decisions and choices which one makes in writing music evocative of a bygone age differ little from those arising from determined (but usually, despite itself, pointless) thirsting after independence: in both cases they are likely to define the person making them, and in the former context there is far more room for subjective selection and creativity than the self-conscious modernist may suppose. Accordingly, the pieces offered here do accurately reflect part of my own creative make-up, even if they are still only a corner of it and may at various points betray all sorts of eclectic tastes and minihomages. They are dedicated to my two children, who in adulthood have emerged as a singer and a percussionist, but who may perhaps – who knows? – one day derive some interest or pleasure from these pages.