Two Reflections on Milton

for solo piano

Phillip Neil Martin

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for solo piano

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Composer Phillip Neil Martin
Year of Composition 2002
Duration ca.8'
ISMN 9790570682669


Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-pnm1trom1


Both the movements of Two Reflections On Milton take their names from John Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ and reflect their titles musically. ‘From The Zenith’ takes a high A flat as the starting point for the movement, using a harmonic structuring of expanding intervals and repeated notes as its main focal point. The piece can be divided into two parts, the first hovering around the first of eighteen non-transposing multi octave modes that start with notes bunched at the top of the piano. During the second part of the piece the changing modes gradually transfer more and more of these high notes into the bass register over a series of slowly descending waves that accelerate, finally ending at the bottom of the piano.

Just as each movement reflects its title so each of the movements reflects each other. ‘Into This Wild Abyss’ mimics the first movement by falling into two sections with an almost continual pedal but this time in the bass register, the lowest B flat. The first sections are also linked through their harmonic stasis although musically very different. ‘From The Zenith’ is an energetic toccata while ‘Into This Wild Abyss’ is much more restrained in both volume and tempo. The second section of ‘Into This Wild Abyss’ takes the low B flat and gradually expands the music up the piano through variations of a repeated melodic cell. The line finally reaches the top B natural to leave just the polarisation of registers at the works culmination to die away on the pedal.