betê mika'el (2012)

For solo piano

Written written for: Ben Powell

Programme Note:

bete mika’el is an anacient rock-hewn church, one of eleven such churches found at the Lalibela World Heritage site in Ethiopia. Carved downwards into a rocky hillside, from the outside bete mika’el is almost entirely invisible, only a few characteristic akusmite windows can be seen via the chapel’s east trench. Inside however, the church is highly ornate – comprising a single large chamber, structurally assured by at least eleven ornate individual pillars (all carved monolithically from the solid rock of the hillside).

The piano piece is constructed from a group of materials, labelled as ‘archetypal forms’ in my musical sketches. Each ‘archetypal form’ could be described as material stereotypes, including contrapuntal forms, chorale-like forms and melodic forms amongst others. This group of materials are arbitrarily superimposed- or perhaps collided is a better word here - in different combinations, often entangling together into a confused mass of highly dense music. Sometimes particular forms rise to the surface and become clarified, whilst others are mutilated and distorted by that which is layered upon them


Score Excerpt:

Approximately 9 minutes