The pieces presented in this album represent my output
from 1986 to 2010. They range from my student days at the Brussels
Royal Conservatory of Music, under the guidance of Madame Jacqueline
Fontyn to a time I consider my style set as much as it can be ever
Chameleon (1986) Three pieces for the piano. The influence of modern
jazz has been a strong one on my musical output. What I found most
appealing in it was when jazz seemed to get far away from what was
known as "jazz". At the time of the composition of Chameleon my
harmonic vocabulary was a mixture of modern, mostly "atonal" jazz and
the harmonic methods and scales of Olivier Messiaen as defined in his
"Technique de mon langage musical".
Emulation (1991) Five short pieces for the piano. The first piece of
the series presents all the material to be used in the following ones
in a rather "improvisatory" style. Then each idea in this rather
chaotic piece is taken alone and developed to one unique piece by
Kaleidoscopes are for the piano solo (number one, presented here),
number two is for chamber strings orchestra with marimba and piano and
number three is for viola and piano. This is a series of pieces created
on one unique tone-row using its various modifications. The tone-row
used is from Alban Berg's violin concerto: "To The Memory of an Angel".
The Temples of Kyoto (2010) Three pieces for the piano. A series of
three piano pieces inspired from my visit in Kyoto and dedicated to the
memory of Mrs. Yasuko Fukuda. The pieces are not descriptive. The
Golden Pavillion (n.1) is more "melody and chordal accompaniment"-type
while the Philosopher's Walk (n.2) is more in a "harmonic", somewhat
homophonic type. Yet it develops that into some resonance effects
(which use the middle - sostenuto - pedal of the piano) and suggest the
"Philosopher's" mind during the "Tetsugaku no michi". The Silver
Pavillion (n.3) returns to the melodic piano writing but unlike the
Golden Pavillion (n.1) here, right from the beginning there are two
melodic lines which intersect and multiply.
It is simultaneously easy and difficult to compose for the piano when
oneself is a pianist.
Easy, because one knows a large deal of the repertory and how to get
the best out of the instrument and difficult for the same reason.
The weight of the tradition can easily become unbearable and one's
hands may be used too much to go with straight scales and arpeggios. On
the positive side, non-pianist composers often think of the piano as an
instrument played with "only" two hands they do not realize that the
pedal of the piano is not just "another hand" but a hand multiplier, so
a pianist may have three, four even more hands.
A pianist-composer who has studied and performed Schumann, Brahms and
most German classics including Beethoven with all the required care and
understanding will also know how the instrument can suggest and create
the illusion of dense orchestral polyphony.
Notes, chords and basses may not be actually held but suggested to be
held even though the pedal will change. A good performed will create
the illusion of long lasting notes, even dynamics on held notes and
chords, beautifully singing and breathing lines as well as the illusion
of a large percussion section with all the actual sound-colors of an
orchestral percussion section being suggested.
Just like the art of the illusionist who attempts to make us believe
for things which do not actually happen, the pianist does the same with
sounds. As far as the pianist has studied and worked along those lines,
doubling as a composer for the instrument can come without much burden.
There are pianist composers who compose at the piano, non-pianist
composers who also compose while sitting at the instrument with hands
on the keyboard; but there are also pianist composers who compose "on a
desk" (without piano) and non-pianist composers who also compose
The results are mixed as well, non pianist composers who composed at
the piano may have results who are pianistic as well as non-pianistic.
Non pianist composers who compose without piano may have very pianistic
By "pianistic" and "non-pianistic" I mean the adequacy of the layout
for keyboard performing. This does not imply an evaluation on the
quality of the composition per se. In both "pianistic" and
"un-pianistic" music we have the best and the worst of all music
Examples in each category abound, most striking ones being, for a
pianist composer who wrote non-pianistic music: Beethoven; for a
non-pianist composer who composed without piano but managed to write an
incredibly pianistic music is Schoenberg.
Music has to have a structural integrity. While this may seem obvious I
witness in some stylistic orientations of our day an attempt to
minimize this requirement. I have been musically raised in the school
of thought of the French structuralism, led by Pierre Boulez. No matter
how nicely "inspired" a musical composition is, its effect on me will
never last long if I can not see the "elaboration" behind it. The
mental "elaboration" is not supposed to replace inspiration but the
opposite approach, which is the lazy way to compose have unfortunately
raised, no wonder why, among some in recent decades.