Vorarlberg Resonance

for piano, four-hands

premiered 1/4/92, Herbst Hall, San Francisco
Karl Ulrich Schnabel and Joan Rowland, piano

Vorarlberg Resonance is a response to the bells of Vorarlberg, Austria, and to a personal memory of the time I was able to spend there. In its most obvious moments, the piece imitates the rhythm and resonance of a large number of bells rung independently. In the central section of the piece, the lower part hammers in a fierce, unbell-like manner, and coaxes out harmonics of silently held notes in the upper part, the whole section responding not to entire sound of bells, but to their resonance, per se. (One of the most beautiful parts of the sound of a bell comes well after the clapper has done its work, as the resonance gradually evolves without percussive interference. Often surprising pitches emerge from what seemed so clear on first strike.) The piece ends with a return to the set of bells heard at the beginning, but with different rhythm. The piece was written for the Duo Schnabel.


Music of Tom Flaherty

Vorarlberg Resonance: Karl and Margaret Kohn, piano four-hands
Timeflies: Peter Yates, guitar; Tom Flaherty, cello
Trio for Cello and Digital Processor: Tom Flaherty, cello
Semi-Suite: Tom Flaherty, cello
Quartet for Viola, Cello and Digital Processor: Cynthia Fogg, viola; Tom Flaherty, cello
Time to Travel: Karl and Margaret Kohn, pianos


score excerpt