NB: Passage, Movement 1 (Roam) begins at 00:04:23; Movement 2 (Barcarolle) at 00:15:40; Movement 3 (Burble) at 00:19:08

Program Note: Passage (2023), for solo piano, by James Rolfe

Passage was originally written for Halifax pianist Barbara Pritchard. The premiere was delayed first by the pandemic, and then by an injury which prevented Barbara from playing the piece. Halifax pianist Joseph Dowell premiered it in Dartmouth in November 2023.

The piece is in three movements: Roam, Barcarolle, and Burble. These are loosely programmatic names; a barcarolle is a boating song sung by a gondolier in a gently rocking 6/8 metre. The title, Passage, refers to the passing of time, both in musical terms, and over a longer span, in this case as the thirty-year lapse between my first solo piano work (also originally written for for Barbara) and this one. Beyond this, I think of a piece of music as navigating a journey, be it brief or epic; a passage is also a kind of birth or rebirth, travelling through waters smooth or rough, from the known into the unknown, or from youth to old age to whatever lies beyond.

Passage was created with the assistance of The Canada Council for the Arts.