piano solo

Robert Morris

Program Notes

"Wabi," is a Japanese aesthetic term for "poverty," one of three characteristics of Haiku poetry (along with "sabi" (loneliness) and "yügen" (mystery)). As Leonard Koren has written, wabi and sabi together "is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble; it is a beauty of things unconventional." Wabi/Sabi captures the transient quality of this piano piece (autumn, 1996) and much of my recent music.

The piece is based on eight simultaneous unfolding, 55-note strings of pitches, quickly saturating the 88 notes of the piano. The unfolding happens four times, the middle two involving direct (if camouflaged) octaves. From time to time, the music relaxes as if to contemplate its progress or reflect on the moment.