• Michael Nyman
  • 1 - 100 (1976)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Directed by Peter Greenaway

  • variable: 4-6 pf

Programme Note

Composed in 1976, 1-100 for multiple pianos demonstrated a curious confluence of free and fixed musical processes. The fixed systems control the background harmonic language and overall textural density (each player reads from the same written sequence of 100 sustained chords, rigidly arranged in the familiar baroque sequential standby of 'roots rising a 4th, descending a 5th', starting at the top of the keyboard and inexorably and slowly spiralling to the bottom). The free(-ish) process is designed to create unwritten harmonic (and rhythmic) divergences by overlapping the juxtaposition brought about by the fact that each individual reading of the chordal text is independent of those of the other players, since each pianist may only move to the next chord after the preceding one has decayed. Individual touch and hearing are therefore indeterminate factors causing the desired out-of syncness as the overall motion of the piece decelerates - as the chords get lower, they get thicker and the decay process slower.

Michael Nyman