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Benoit, David: Etudes for the Contemporary Pianist (2009) 27'
for piano


This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

Composer's Notes

1. Journey in a Rental Car
The opening F repetition signifies the warning chime before the seat belt is
In this instance, the journey in a rental car (some generic American brand)
originates at Los Angeles International Airport and ends at Villa Montalvo, the
former mayor of San Francisco’s summer Mediterranean estate. This was the
first Etude composed during my stay there as an “artist-in-residence.”

2. I Miss You
This is a poetic little piece that begins very simply with a sense of longing and
sadness. The brief right hand eruption in the middle signifies the loneliness and
frustration of the composer’s unmet desires.

3. A Solitary Moment by the Ocean
My first classical piano piece as a kid growing up was Schumann’s “Chopin”
from Carnival. I loved this piece with its beautiful rolling left hand. This is my
homage not necessarily to Schumann but to Chopin written in the style of
some of his nocturnes.
4. Lonely Boy
The title is self-explanatory.

5. Scherzo for Charles Brown
Charles Schulz actually had two friends named Charles Brown growing up. I
don’t know which one provided the inspiration for “Peanuts” but does it
matter? There is a little bit of Vince Guaraldi in there as the piece reveals itself
but the beginning may be more reminiscent of “Peanuts Gallery” Concerto by
composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.

6. Kenji
“Kenji” is a piece about a young Japanese boy that was adopted by my good
friend Kent Nagano’s cousin, Karen Nagano and Rick Deragon. Karen is a
brilliant oil on canvas artist in the Napa Valley who we commissioned to do a
rendering of our daughter June. Kenji and June were adopted from the same
host family in Hiroshima, Japan.

7. Betty’s Dance
This piece started with a different title, but the more I played it, the more it
reminded me of my mother Betty who died in 1997. My mother loved Stephen
Sondheim whose music provided the inspiration for this composition. I miss
her terribly.

8. Fallen Peacock
First of all, I hate peacocks. We are under siege with them in our Palos Verdes
neighborhood. They are messy and loud and keep us up all night. Having said
that, one managed to fly into our yard and crash into a wall. It tried and tried to
get up and fly away but couldn’t…

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