Four Alibis

NB: Movement 1 at 00:00:01; Movement 2 at 00:07:31; Movement 3 at 00:12:08; Movement 4 at 00:14:38

Program Note: Four Alibis

Four Alibis (2020) is the story of five notes, the lower half of a D major scale—sunny, innocent, and open. Over four movements, this snippet falls and rises across the piano’s seven octaves, in long notes and short, fast and slow, loud and soft, moving contrapuntally at different speeds or keys, like currents in a swirling river. Shadowy flattened minor-key versions lurk up from the depths and assume control; figures flit lightly past and dissolve into thin air. In some ways, this piece is a tribute to Beethoven and Schubert, to their ability at the keyboard to conjure up something out of nothing, weaving shaggy dog stories and eccentric loping dances out of the most unassuming yarn. It’s also a portrait of and tribute to my friend and colleague, Simon Docking, to whom it is dedicated. Four Alibis was written with the support of The Canada Council for the Arts.