Next month my book of 6 Etudes will be published, and they will also be available through the iPad app. (you can search "Ananda Sukarlan" at the App Store).
My 6 Etudes are my excursions --or perhaps trying to find home?-- to the piano in my compositional adventures. One might be surprised to know that the piano is not my favorite instrument for which I compose. It is the human voice. Therefore it explains the numerous works I wrote for that beautiful "instrument" and the few quantity of (substantial) works for piano solo. By writing these Etudes I can experiment again what we have learned from the great masters of the past (Chopin and Liszt mostly, but also Debussy, Rachmaninov etc) and how my musical language can fit with the pianistic techniques that they have invented and developed. Melodies play an important role in my piano music, since I always try, perhaps in vain, to make the piano "sing" like human voice. Here are some of my notes about some etudes of mine. I guess the music speaks for itself, therefore I wrote only the background of 3 of them. These are just for those who are curious about their creative process; I don't think they would help much for their interpretation. As I always say, the composer is the person who understands his music the least, since he can only view it from one point of view. The great interpreters are those who find other points of views and could decide how it should be performed. And for their technical difficulties, there is only one way to surpass it: PRACTICE!
The first etude is inspired by 2 things: 1. The poem by Indonesia's most prominent poet, Sapardi Djoko Damono, especially the phrase "Can you listen to the great silence that descends with the drops of the rain", and therefore the title of the Etude. 2. Pianistically it is modelled on Liszt concert etude "Waldesrauschen" with one substantial difference: the "accompaniment" figure changes in its rhythms everytime it changes figurations, therefore it never "falls down" together with the melody which is built on simple rhythms. It thus creates a strange polyrhythm between the melody and accompaniment and the listener will perceive, unlike Liszt's, two things happening independently.
About the last etude, "Ritual Dance" from my opera MENDADAK KAYA which I just finished, I paste here my email a few days ago to the dedicatee of the piece, Japanese pianist Kazuha Nakahara.
After about one year of promise (or more? Ah, it was after your performance of my other Etudes, right? That was 2010, if I am not mistaken) here is "your" Etude. I wrote half of it many months ago but then got stuck (and had to do something else which I forgot what), and when I wrote my last opera I took it and used the whole material for the opera!
It is a bit more than one and a half minutes, and I believe the last 30 seconds or so are quite (or terribly) difficult. Very sorry about that, hehe... but that's what etudes are for, right? Anyway, I hope this (as my other etudes) serves for technical education (esp. in polyrhythms) as well as concert pieces.
Now, I will have to ask your permission to give the world premiere of this. I am performing my Etudes together with Ligeti's (book I & II) on February 12th in Galicia, and since I thought this is just the right opportunity to premiere it, I'd do it. And then there are already several performances, next time will be Rotterdam (in the hall of the conservatory) in April, again my Etudes will be paired with the Ligetis.
The score of my 6 Etudes will also be released next month, as well as being available to be bought at my application (Ananda Sukarlan) on iPad.
So, hope you like it! It has no "nuances" or colours whatever, so very different from Chopin's, eh? It's just a game of rhythms. Oh, and it is only on the white keys! Only the beginning 5 bars have an air of mystery (a rather freaky one, I must say), and if you are playing on a piano that has only 2 pedals one can always hold the l.h. and try to get around with the jumps at the r.h, still with strictness of rhythm (the fermatas are only valid for the silences, but when there are notes, they have to be played as rhythmical as poss).
Have a nice time torturing yourself!