Working at the Aurora School of Music (ASM) has provided me with many learning opportunities, namely the chance to familiarize myself with beginning and intermediate piano literature. In this genre the work and collections of James Bastien have remained a staple since their initial printing in the 1960s. His anthology Easy Piano Classics is frequently purchased at ASM and is nicknamed “The Spiral Book” for its distinctive binding. Spiral Suite was born as a twenty-first century supplement to this curriculum, much needed since the book's contemporary section still lists Dimitri Kabalevsky as a living composer! (He died in 1987.)
In this suite I have sought to encompass a wide range of emotions. The opening movement, Castles in the Sky, creates a magical, enchanted atmosphere using accentuated bell-like sounds that blur together, resulting in a shimmering resonance. Rainy Day is the most somber of the movements but contains glimpses of optimism and hope through gentle melodies floating above a rocking accompaniment. In contrast, Groovy Dance Party is vibrant and sassy with upbeat, energetic rhythms. In a Dream closes the suite and uses contrasting modalities and drones to illustrate a mysterious but ethereal soundscape. I hope this work becomes a joy for pianists of any age!
Spiral Suite was commissioned by the Aurora School of Music (Aurora, OH) and was first performed on May 15, 2021.