The Seasons is a project that features twelve piano pieces written—and for some re-written—between 2012 and 2018. During these years, I had accumulated a certain amount of compositions that had never been finished, and which for some were still in the state of sketches and musical fragments. While most of these works are originally intended for piano solo, some of them are arrangements of pieces for strings and other instruments.
I have always found the idea of nature influencing the arts fascinating. Some of the most influential pieces of music have been written under the stimulus of time, nature and the seasons. Max Richter’s Recomposed of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons has been a trigger to my wish to focus on composing music—and so has the works of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky which illustrate his talent at composing emotional yet challenging and captivating music.
The idea of writing a piano cycle following his Seasons came to me when I realised that in the descriptive/program music that had been written throughout the years, the descriptive notion of nature had very often taken over the emotional expression of the composer. In The Seasons, I have taken a lot of care in reflecting the natural qualities as much as my own perception and actual experience of each moment of the year.
The Seasons is therefore an homage to Tchaikovsky’s piano cycle, but might as well represent a wink to Vivaldi’s—and consequently Richter’s Four Seasons—as well as Philip Glass’s American Four Seasons, Daniel Hope’s The Seasons. Besides, it is an attempt to plunge into the world of descriptive/program music and to create diversity in my own works.
The project has been structured around the release of one piece a month, for an entire year.
The collaborative challenge consisted of completing a piece of music in a certain amount of time and sending it to the performer, who would also have a defined amount of time to practice and record it. Each month felt like a race against the clock, but a fantastic opportunity to learn how to tame and control the muse. Each piece has its own quality and personality; whether it is trough the contemplation of "January", the serenity of "April", the excitement of "July" or the narrativity of "October". There are some simple pieces and some more challenging, some straight forward or some that use extended techniques and prepared piano.
I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to collaborate with musicians from around the world: Louise Lipatti-Mesme, Clio Em, Frances Wilson, Christina McMaster, Alexandra Westcott, Simeon Walker, Ke Ma, Chia-Ying Jaqueline Tu, Garreth Broke, Mattia Vlad Morleo, Affan and Dominique Charpentier.
I feel immensely proud to have achieved this project—with its imperfections that reflect its challenge—and to have a recording that testifies of its achievement.