for solo piano
The title of this piece is taken from a sculpture by French artist Arman (born Armand Pierre Fernandez in 1928). I attended a retrospective of his work at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts a number of years ago and was very taken by his sculptures, many of which involve found objects, especially musical instruments. They displayed a great deal of emotional range, as well as a good deal of wit and sheer energy. A demolished violin embedded in Plexiglas was titled To Hell With Paganini, while The Last Judgment was a huge wall sculpture of trombone bells welded together. Piano Flamboyant (burning piano) was not included in this exhibition, but I later saw a picture of it in a book, a burned-out piano turned into stunning sculpture.
Subtitled “Toccata for piano solo,” this fairly short piece attempts to capture some of the manic energy of Arman’s musically-inspired sculpture. Very fast and aggressive sections alternate with slightly slower, more lyric passages. The faster sections are in mixed meters, but emphasizing 5/8, while the other sections are exclusively in 7/8 time.
Piano Flamboyant was commissioned by Louisville pianist Denine LeBlanc, who is responsible for commissioning and performing numerous works by local and regional composers. It appears on her CD, The Sun Shines Bright (Seabreeze Records CD 4002).