publishing and producing the music of William Grosvenor Neil

Solo Piano

Sonata for piano (2022)

For solo piano  12:50  mins.

Sonata for piano was composed for pianist Martin Jones and was recorded for the Pnova Series at Radford University, Radford, VA November 13th, 2023.

Commissioned by pianist Martin Jones

Movement I. Light by the Beauty of Music

This movement opens with a driving energy that does not diminish until the final passages.  The opening theme continues to cycle over accenting sonorities in counterpoint with a 2nd theme that spins forth in perpetual motion.  From here emerges a pair of folk themes in tandem. I quote the Romanian folk song:  "On the Freedom Plains" along with a counter theme that I composed in a minor mode. I want to thank my Moldovian friend, Natalia Rojcovscaia-Tumaha for inspiring the inclusion of this quote in this movement. This basic cry for freedom among people who have identified with a country where generations have lived and died was the sentiment that I wanted to capture in this music. The movement ends with an unresolved flourish that slowly dies away suggesting the mysterious uncertain nature of music.

Movement II. Deliquesce

This second movement is a simple song-like narrative that speaks in short rhythmic open phrases. The music progression in variation form.   All the while, a spinning thread of notes orbits this narrative, eventually cascading into a perpetual motif that ends suspended in space.

Movement III.  Light Upon Water

The third movement continues the perpetual motion of the second movement and transforms into a running tapestry of harmonic statements that build to a euphoric choral   declaration.  After a reflective, improvisatory middle section, the cascading perpetual motion of the opening returns. The conclusion of the movement is signaled by what I call a crossing cadence:   the theme in full chordal orchestration is accelerando in the right hand and is retrograde, ritardando in the left hand.  Finally, a short coda finishes the sonata.

Nocturne No. 1, William Grosvenor Neil, piano

Nine Nocturnes for solo piano (2020)

Solo piano    21 mins.

Premiered November 2019 at the La Crosse New Music Festival, William Grosvenor Neil, piano

These evocations of the night explore the rich sonorities of nocturnal thought and emotion outside the realm of conscious awareness.  Illuminating multiple perspectives simultaneously on a single theme characterizes my solo piano music.  Romantic gestures, playful interludes, and exuberant sonorities make up these short pieces.  Christopher Neil, composed Nine Haiku reflecting on each of the nine nocturnes. Our collaboration has informed the interpretation and performance of these nine miniatures. The words and music embark the listener on a journey that embraces darkness leading the listener to a discovery of inspired endurance. WGN

Three Cradlesongs (2021) (excerpts) William Grosvenor Neil, piano

Three Cradlesongs for solo piano (2021)

For solo piano      9 mins.

Premiered at the La Crosse New Music Festival November 2019, William Grosvenor Neil, piano

Three lyrical and expressive short piano pieces.  The first two are calm and graceful and the third is florid and fantastic.

Six Preludes for solo piano (2018) Excerpts, Martin Jones, piano

Six Preludes for solo piano (2018)

For solo piano     15 mins.

Premiered November 9th, 2018 at Radford College, VA by pianist Martin Jones.

I have composed six preludes for piano that present interpretive challenges for the pianist and evoke diverse emotional responses from the listener.      I was inspired by the  improvisatory nature of the short pieces that were common in the Baroque era that often threaded rhythmic and melodic motifs into a tapestry of sound.    And I was particularly influenced by the spirit of spontaneity evident in the sets of short pieces composed in the Romantic ear that often dramatically played out for a particular emotional response.  WGN

Six Tangos for solo piano (2018) Excerpts from all six tangos, Giacomo Dalla Libera and William Grosvenor Neil, piano
Tango No. 6 performed by William Grosvenor Neil

Six Tangos for solo piano (2018)

For solo piano    10 mins.

Premiered at Morris College, London in November of 2018 by pianist Giacomo Dalla Libera

Tango No. 1 is dedicated to a friend, Malgosia and her newborn.  I imagined a mother, with a child in her arms, dancing to the rhythm of this tango.  Tango No. 2  is for Diana, a  poet and a  believer in sci-art quantum physics of the everyday. It is a slow and somber dance with the universe.  Tango No. 3 was inspired by  Amanda, the mother character in The Glass Menagerie.   The music, like her memory,  is surreal and fantastic.  Tango No. 4 is for April an award-winning dancer who taught me the basics of the tango.  Tango No. 5 is inspired by the great tangos of Astor Piazzolla.  Finally, Tango No. 6 is dedicated to the Italian pianist, Giacomo Dalla Libera.  WN.

At the Edge of the Body’s Night (2008), William Grosvenor Neil, piano

At the Edge of the Body’s Night (2008)

For solo piano and digital acoustics       24 mins.

Premiered in April of 2008 on Live from WFMT in Chicago, William Grosvenor Neil, piano.

At the Edge of the Body’s Night is a setting of Seven Poems by the late poet, Mark Strand.   These poems intrigued me with their potent brevity and mysterious symbolism.  I found in their riddle-like form a concise emotional message, ideal for creating short melodic themes and inspiring fantastic piano music.    When I recorded Mark’s voice reading the poems, I knew that his recitation would be part of the compositional resources for the piece.  His resonant voice, enhanced by the audio editing process, provided a powerful context for the musical interpretation of his words.  The addition of a soprano voice (Ashley Parker) in the digital landscape alludes to the traditional art song setting of poems.  and her siren-call voice recalls the female muse that I imagined inspired the poet in writing his words.   The piano music guides the listener throughout this fantastic journey of sound and music reflecting on the meaning and character of the poems and driving the dream-like narrative forward. 

Each of the six movements (I & II are combined) for piano are accompanied by the digital audio landscape.  At the beginning of each section, a cue is notated in the score to start the audio wave file.  The performance of the piece requires a high fidelity audio play back system in the recital hall or performance space. I recommend loading the files in a laptop computer that interfaces with the audio system.  The rental of the digital acoustic files includes a licensed Q Lab project file that can be uploaded to the PC or Mac laptop computer.  The rental agreement also includes support from TheComposerStudio.Com, LLC for the performance of the piece. Please contact TheComposerStudio for further support: 

Purchase per performance license and receive link to download files with performance instructions.  $50

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