Four Calm Interludes


About Four Calm Interludes

The four calm interludes (should that be capitalized?) are Four One, On Nothing, About Sixths, and On Sol. They are intended as simple, meditative pieces, perhaps good for student pianists to attempt.

In spring of 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, I suffered a massive manic episode followed by a debilitating depression that lasted over a year. During this time I found my relationship with music fraught—I could not compose, and could barely even listen to music for enjoyment, relaxation, or whatever other reasons people listen to music. It was terrifying, thinking my life’s work was over.

The shift to being unable to compose or listen, however, was a gradual, like the shift from mania to depression. I found my listening habits following what seemed like a massive ritardando, as they moved away from the upbeat music I was used to toward more and more ambient, very slow music. Hiroshi Yoshimura’s album Music For Nine Postcards was on repeat for a long while before the total break. Its calm repetitions must have influenced what I was doing, because I sometimes found myself at the piano playing the same note or chord over and over again, just listening to the details in the resonance. Out of this came the first of these four pieces, On Nothing.

Eight months later I found myself doing it again, the result of which is Four One. Another eight months went by before About Sixths, and then, as my recovery became more and more apparent, only two months passed until On Sol. I am grateful to say I am now composing every day again, though my music has, without conscious intention, taken on a far more introspective feel than ever before.

I have not given the pieces numbers, because I don’t mind if they are played in a different order, alone, or—as the title suggests—as interludes between other pieces. I do like the printed order though.