for solo piano

Jeffrey Holmes

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for solo piano

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Composer Jeffrey Holmes
Year of Composition 2018
Duration ca.9'


Student Difficulty

Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-jh1t2


Thund for solo piano, was composed in the winter of 2017-18. The title is from Old Norse for “Thundering Water”, is one of the many kennings attributed to a particular Scandinavian deity. Each of the movements contain subtitles:

Thund [Thundering Water]I. Vantaskuggsjá [Water-Mirror]II. Hangafoss [Hanging Waterfall]III. Élivágar [Icy Waves, Primordial Sea]

Thund is the second in a series of works for solo instruments (with Herjan for guitar and Geirtýr for flute), derived from a larger work, a string quartet named Óss (Ansuz). These pieces are all programmatically based on a particular Scandinavian mythological shamanic figure and his esoteric written symbol, or rune. During the composition of Óss, I received requests for three solo pieces, prompting these three solos to be fractal microcosms of the Óss materials (motives, rhythmic cycles, forms, etc). All three works are the exact same number of measures and are designed as symmetries of each other, collectively making one large palindrome. Additionally, all the titles are alternate names for the same Scandinavian deity.

Thund is a piece about water through its various forms; first in its still and reflective form with gentle ripples, then a more twisting and moving form, and finally in its more violent and turbulent state. There are three themes that each appear in all three movements: a repeated chordal figure, polyrhythmic linear scales, and wide-range, fast moving arpeggios accompanied by trills.