Drei Klavierstücke is a three movement work for solo piano, commissioned by German pianist, León Bernsdorf. The piece is loosely inspired by the symphonic works of Gustav Mahler. Each movement begins with a tempo or expressive marking borrowed from the works of Mahler, and these act as the impetus defining the rest of the movement.
The opening movement is titled “Schattenhaft (fließend aber nicht schnell)”, which translates to “shadowy (flowing but not fast)” and is borrowed from the scherzo of Mahler’s 7th Symphony. I took this indication and aimed to create an ambiguous yet constantly moving atmosphere to underline the entire movement, with occasional glimpses of clarity and light.
The second movement, “Adagietto”, takes its name from the fourth movement of Mahler’s 5th Symphony. What is interesting about the Mahler Adagietto, are the contradictory opening markings of having the titular marking of “Adagietto”, and the additional tempo indication of “sehr langsam” (very slowly). Through this movement I tried to craft a slow and distant recounting of the original symphonic score, and produce the lingering resonance of Mahler’s writing.
The third and final movement takes its name again from the ending of Mahler’s 7th Symphony, Rondo – Finale. The piece moves between alternating sections of mechanical, typewriter-esque perpetual motion, gentle cascading lines, and rhythmically-asymmetrical repeated grooves.