COMPOSER 1945–2013

Opus 4

Adam and Eve (1961)

for Piano

Duration: 6 min.

Recording: Albany TROY1119

Premiere: 2007; D. Amato; Harvard Univ.

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Adam and Eve, a fantasy, was written when I was 16. I knew the scripture from Genesis—but was a late bloomer and thus hardly more than intellectually alert to man and woman—not to mention serpent for that matter. Notwithstanding, I wrote a piece in three sections—but not the usual ABA, but rather A, then B, and then A plus B. So the first part describes some fantasy I had of a consonant Eden environment—the second part (in what they now call octatonic mode, alternating half and whole steps) slithers and runs as might a serpent, and the third part slows down that serpent’s music and harmonizes it with the music from the first part; the man and woman, beguiled by the serpent, have eaten the apple, and so forth. Somehow nearly 50 years later, I have a clear memory of this intent—but what I cannot recall is whether I did or did not have in mind a precursor that remarkably duplicates the structural/psychological design—A, B, A+B, for a definite theatrical or character purpose. I am not speaking of the various double fugues, but rather of a less contrapuntal and more dramatic tour de force—the “Two Polish Jews” movement of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. (Notes by Arnold Rosner)