(Written in 2006)
For Solo Piano
Commissioned: by the Brighton and Hove Neighbourhood Care Scheme, with the aid of a grant from the PRS Foundation, for the pianist Rachel Fryer
Timing: c. 10 mins.
This piece was written for the pianist Rachel Fryer, who I have known and worked with for many years. The piece was created to explore the theme of the concert where it had its premiere, “a light in the dark.”
The piece starts off with a quiet, beautiful chant-like theme. This might give you the sense of being in a beautiful church with a choir singing in the background.
After a couple of minutes, this mood is slowly disrupted as a new, more unsettled and disturbing, element comes in very low down on the piano. This takes us into the central section of the piece, which should feel like a sort of storm with different elements fighting against each other and a high sense of drama. It builds up from a quiet beginning to an impressive display of pianistic fury.
As this energy exhausts itself and dies away we can almost see a small glint of light as the opening idea, expressed more joyfully this time, gradually builds up strength and finishes the piece with joy, redemption and majesty.
Rachel Fryer’s website: www.rachelfryer.co.uk.
- 11 December 2005: Premiere at the Friends’ Meeting House, Brighton, pianist Rachel Fryer.
- 16th December 2005: pianist Rachel Fryer
- November 2006: in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, USA, pianist Deltcho Deltchev
- A recording was made by Rachel Fryer on the 17th December 2006 at the Jerwood Studios, Glyndebourne.
“…Samuel Becker’s excellent, specially commissioned “Light in the Dark” became instantly accessible due to the combination of a brief introduction to the work by the composer and by Rachel’s sensitive and explicit playing. One listener fittingly described the work as a journey. The start of the journey opened with a beautiful and haunting carol like theme reminiscent of The Coventry Carol. Soon this tranquillity and ethereal beauty is overlaid and disrupted with new material appearing in the bass register. Tension mounts realised by the skilful use of dissonance and juxtaposition until finally there is a return to the opening idea this time expressed more boldly. Rachel’s playing conveyed the journey perfectly. “Light in the Dark” is very orchestral in nature and Rachel’s interpretation made it possible for the listener not only to enjoy on first hearing a beautiful new work but to imagine it orchestrally, for example one moment delicate woodwinds and then strident full tutti!”
Paui Keating from Surprise Music, reviewing for “the Latest,” a Brighton magazine.