• 2 pianos
  • 15 min

Programme Note

Robert Walker: Passacaglia for Two Pianos

Having the desire to write a passacaglia was not without its problems. After three abortive goes at it, I realised that for a passacaglia to mean anything it must be tonal. This coincided with an interest of mine in contemporary architecture – the problems "post-modernists” were facing. Part of their solution revolves around a re-use of a revitalised vernacular: brick, stone, mullions, gables and the rest; not in any nostalgic way but in a way which is both new and refreshed. My Passacaglia is on much the same lines. There is much in the way of factorial rhythms, canons, retrograde rhythms, accumulative tonalities, but these are only of interest to me. The uses of vernacular musics should make it perfectly understandable without any lengthy exposition of its techniques. Those avant-gardists who would want "newness” can take comfort: its newness lies in the fact that there is nothing new in it. It lasts about eighteen minutes and is dedicated to Richard Markham and David Nettle.

© Robert Walker