Elegy for an Asteroid

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Elegy for an Asteroid is a work that was born from an improvisation at the beginning of December 2021. It’s the first time I took a whole improv and tweaked it into a composition. I’m thankful that I adopted the habit of recording all my improvisations in the event I wanted to build on those unfettered musical ideas later on.

The composition is based on a repeated figure (Eb-D-Eb-G) first presented in the right hand at the start and heard in different incarnations throughout the piece. At times it becomes the oft-heard Dies Irae (Eb-D-Eb-C), the famous chant attributed to Thomas of Celano, associated with the End of Days Biblical text and heard routinely in symphonic and film scores to create foreboding characters–think Danny Elfman’s Making Christmas from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

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The piece is of moderate difficulty; it features a few hand crossings and some tricky fingerings in the right hand but is generally streamlined for quick learning.

The music video was a fun holiday project recorded between Christmas and New Year’s of 2021. I used my Sony a6000 exclusively and recorded it completely in black and white. I used a number of lenses but most prominently my 30mm macro lens. This awarded me many opportunities to ‘get up close and personal’ with my Yamaha U3 piano. The rotating star in the video is made of 8 key sticks (4 black and 4 white) carefully removed from my piano. It’s loosely representative of the ‘asteroid’ and is always accompanied by the aforementioned righthand figuration similar to a leitmotiv.

I feel I should assure my audience: no pianos were harmed in the making of this film!

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