In the Hands
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In a Perfectly Wounded Sky

Today’s recording is a composition of my own, which I see I play a bit faster than I did three years ago. I like the new version — I think the faster tempo in the middle sustains the structural momentum a bit better — but of course I may have changed my mind about that three years from now. That’s the fun of interpretation: it’s never done!

The title is based on my mishearing of a Tori Amos lyric (from Cruel). I generally go for titles that are evocative and somehow seem to fit, without actually having any clear meaning that listeners will try to impose on the piece — I want the title to be an opening into the music, not a box to stuff it in.

Another one of those “openings into the music” is the little epigraphs I often put at the end of the piece. I almost always choose both the quote and the title after writing the music, so they’re more a reflection on where I ended up than an explanation of what I was doing. The epigraph for this piece is a hokku by Masahide:

Now that my storehouse
has burned down, nothing
conceals the moon.

Music readers and visual aesthetes can follow along with the score.

In a Perfectly Wounded Sky

For those following along with the audio engineering side of things, I used a touch of a look-ahead limiter on this one (which I usually don’t do), because of the huge variance between the attacks on the harsher chords and the very quiet intervening sections. I also cranked the scaling on the Gain Shaper a hair higher than usual.

The opening chord of this piece was the starting point for Saturday’s recording, Lingle.



I like the Brahmsian aspects of this piece – the way you imply various meters without regard to barlines, as well as much of the voicing strikes me as perhaps influenced by your studies of Brahms. Your tempos do bring out a nice structural aspect of the piece, which for me is the repose of the (sort of) returning opening theme.

Nick Weininger

Kinda Shostakovich-y, too, in some way I can’t quite put my finger on. Very nice.

Nick Weininger

I loved the first few chords. Very evocative. Unfortunately, it quit after that and when I fiddled with it, it just went back to the beginning and played those very evocative first few chords again. I’d love to hear the rest of it, but I don’t know how. Sorry.


The time signature on the score is an unusual one:
Andate grave

Snide comments to the side, it was helpful to me to follow the score. As you know, my musical knowledge limits me to the rough flow of the notes, occasionally recalibrated by abrupt changes in dynamics, full rests, etc. But even with those limitations, I saw aspects I had never heard – some of tghe complexity that had gone by my ears unheard was visible.


Oops! I’d fixed the typo in the tempo marking, and made some other revisions to the score, but forgot to repost the revised PDF.

Technical aside: if anybody out there figures out how to to make Sibelius generate PDF files that don’t have ridiculously slow-rendering, space-eating slurs and ties, let me know. I’m rendering my scores as bitmaps to get around the problem, which doesn’t make for the best PDF viewing experience….


” I want the title to be an opening into the music, not a box to stuff it in” is perfect. I like the pedal work in the last measures– like a series of steps down instead of a smooth slide.

Vladimir Orlt

The ‘hokku’ is a bit like Cat Stevens’ “Moonshadow”…

kathy mctavish

i love this piece … from the first utterance onward …

Bryan Donald-DeVoe Schumann

The sonic quality of the recording really showcases this piece. With headphones on it feels like head is floating inside the piano lid. Well done all around.


Very nice. Bright, in spite of its darker parts, sort of like the hokku you quote. I like it today too! Congrats.