• Yehudi Wyner
  • Toward the Center (1988)

  • Associated Music Publishers Inc (World)
  • piano
  • 18 min

Programme Note

Composer Note:

Toward the Center (1988) was commissioned by the Yale School of Music to honor Ward Davenny, distinguished pianist and teacher, who had been a mainstay of the Yale establishment from 1961 until his retirement in 1988. The composition was completed in March, 1988 and received its first performance at Yale on April 21st, interpreted by Ian Hobson, brilliant young pianist and former student of Mr. Davenny. The title, Toward the Center, contains some cryptic allusions, some of them playful, others of a deeply personal nature. Whatever the exact definition of the title may be, I feel that the music seeks to embody something of the process of exploring psychological and cultural interiors and transmitting that experience in an illuminating, possibly revelatory way.

The composition is through-composed, in the manner of a fantasy. A jazzy opening flourish defines the pitches and intervals from which all the subsequent music will flow, but the derivations are often fanciful and associative rather than rigorous and systematic. Much of the music is guided by romantic, gestural rubato, urgent and elastic, but there are extended passages of stable tempo as well. Toward the Center ends with a subdued apotheosis, trailing off in a cloud of distantly remembered dance music, now nostalgically transformed, refined, delicately exalted.

— Yehudi Wyner

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