Three Worlds

for piano solo

Richard Whalley

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for piano solo

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Composer Richard Whalley
Year of Composition 2009
Duration ca.4'
ISMN 9790570682287
Student Difficulty int-adv
Categories (all composers) , , ,
Catalogue ID ce-rw1tw1


In 1955 the artist M.C. Escher produced a lithograph print, entitled Three Worlds, depicting an image of a pond or lake during the autumn or winter. Three worlds can be seen in this image: the world below the surface, as shown by a large fish swimming beneath the surface, the surface of the water itself on which an array of leaves float, and the world above the surface, observable through the reflection of overhead trees. Beautifully composed and balanced, there is something almost playful about this somewhat stylised representation of nature: this is what interests me as a composer.

This print has a metaphorical relationship with this short piano piece, in which different layers of music, each with their own individual characteristics coexist, and depend on one another for contrast and harmony. Central to these layers is a long cantus-firmus melody, which can be heard in various guises throughout.

Completed in January 2009, this piece is intended as the first of a cycle of piano pieces inspired by the Escher’s remarkable images.