‘Book of Mechanicals and Madrigals’ is a set of six small character pieces for solo piano. The set of compositions juxtaposes three lyrical movements alluding to programmatic meaning against three process, minimalist ‘mechanical’ pieces.
‘Love Song’: consists of a lyrical melody made up from dropping languid phrases which are continually set up and interrupted throughout the piece. With each repetition the melody becomes more anxious building to a dramatic climax at bar 29. At the end of the piece the melody is brought back, but twice as slow.
‘Mechanism 1’: This piece is comprised of three interlocking ostinatos, each moving at different. The harmony is derived from the opening pitch class cell from ‘Love Song’. Layers of the ostinato are removed to expose the mechanics of the piece.
‘Prayer Fragment’: Looks to capture a solemn religious tone. This piece is made up from two materials; the meandering line, and the chant-like chords at bar 6. With Each repetition more of the material is exposed.
‘Mechanism 2’: Works in the same way as ‘Mechanism 1’. However, it is much shorter and derived from the final chord in ‘Prayer Fragment’.
‘Dancing in the Mist’: is based around a waltz-like material that is being continually contorted. At bar 9 the material is cut off and a new more stable melody is introduced
‘Mechanism 3’: This piece is built up from two alternating rhythm cells. Sudden changes in dynamics are used to create dramatic changes in character.
NB. Whilst this set was written with the intention that all movements are performed in the order in which they are written, musicians may perform individual or selections of movements.