• Sarah Kirkland Snider
  • Ballade (2000)

  • G Schirmer Inc (World)
  • piano
  • 6 min

Programme Note

Composer note:
I have a quasi-religious relationship to Chopin’s Ballades. If I stumble upon one of them unexpectedly, I have to stop and sit down. Years ago, I communed with the Ballades to such a degree that now I almost fear them. I go near them only when I am suitably prepared for that kind of extended deep-sea diving. Of all Chopin’s Ballades, I was most deeply affected by the Fourth. I’d read that Chopin wanted the Fourth Ballade to have a “sickly, creepy” feeling, which reminded me of Thom Yorke’s statement that the goal of Radiohead’s “OK Computer” was to make the listener feel emotionally “nauseated.” In both cases these characterizations struck me as poignantly apt. I realized as I was writing this piece that similar emotional impetus was informing it. Because of this, and because the piece was indebted to many technical and structural features in Chopin’s Ballades (though also to the piano music of Debussy and Ravel), I decided to call the piece Ballade, in homage.

Ballade is dedicated to the pianist and composer Laurie Altman, my piano teacher throughout middle and high school, who introduced me to Chopin.

— Sarah Kirkland Snider