A collection of eight modern classical piano sketches by Doug Thomas conceived as “portraits” of his composer heroes: François Couperin, Wolfgang Mozart, Felix Mendelssohn and Philip Glass. There are two sketches for each composer: a “portrait” (marked in the title by “1”) and its compositional inverse (marked in the title by “2”).
An imaginative work for the studious listener, the EP is a reflection on the musical styles of the four composers explored in short piano studies that brim with melody and complexity. Portraits is elegantly and meticulously brought to life in collaboration with modern classical composer and pianist Affan who performed and recorded the pieces at his home studio in London.
“Wolfgang 1”, included in the official Piano Day 2019 playlist – soundcloud.com/nils_frahm/sets/pianoday-2019
(track 235) – was re-recorded for the EP and appears with its inverse counterpart, “Wolfgang 2”.
Doug Thomas on his choice of composers:
“Couperin’s Pièces de Clavecín had a significant influence on me while studying composition for the keyboard. One of the first to define the French sound, his ability to write simplistic, almost minimalistic pieces made including him a necessity.
“Mozart is the minimalist composer par excellence. His work is simple, straightforward and speaks to everyone. It is fascinating to study his keyboard music; it seems to follow similar structures and patterns yet is always distinctive and new!
“Mendelssohn uses a language that is easily translated into the minimalism of today. His Lieder ohne Worte were a revelation to me. They taught me a lot about composing for the keyboard—how to blend Classical crispness with Romantic sensitivity.
“Glass infected me with the minimalism virus. I remember the first time I heard ‘Metamorphosis 2’; I was into popular music at the time, but Glass built the bridge I crossed into classical. His life and work is an inspiration for the aspiring composer that I am.”