isimili

for solo piano (2019)

duration: 8'

program note

No piece can ever be performed exactly as the composer intended. If the composer writes a metronome mark, how can the performer ensure that they don’t stray from that tempo? How do we know that our volume of mezzo piano is the same as Beethoven’s? How short is a staccato?

isimili intentionally subverts the notion of exact or truthful performance. The piece is comprised of six individual ‘fragments’, each around a minute long. The fragments are not organised in any particular order, and it is up to the performer to decide what order to perform them in. The composer does not have a preferred order of performance, so there are 720 different ways that the piece can be played.

As a comment on originality, three of the fragments are directly inspired by existing pieces of music. Every piece of music is an amalgamation of existing music that a composer has heard in their life, because originality is just a melting pot of an individual’s unique tastes. What you hear in this piece may sound like something you know – maybe you’ve listened to the same pieces that I have, or maybe every piece of art that exists in a postmodern world is a pastiche of what has come before. 

The title comes from the word ‘verisimilitude’ which refers to the relative and apparent trueness of something. 

isimili was commissioned by and is dedicated to David Coates.

Copyright © 2019 James Mountain

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