for solo piano
Touchings was commissioned by and is dedicated to Justin Kolb, who gave the work its premiere performance at Merkin Hall in 1990. My first concerns were to feature Justin's virtuosic brilliance as well as his sense of lyricism.
Although I was an experienced composer when I wrote Touchings, it was my first major piano work, and like many composers working on their first piece in a new medium, I ended up throwing in almost everything I knew about piano playing. The music immediately led me into rich harmonic and timbral areas. The timbres of the piano that I found seemed to suggest all sorts of extra-pianistic sounds and motions, including mud, dust, scampering, roaring, rolling thunder, many different kinds of bells, contrasts of dry and wet sounds, many suggestion of water including splashes, droplets, geysers, and torrents. One section briefly suggests a hammer dulcimer.
After its lyrical opening section, Touchings becomes more and more exuberant, with occasional well-earned moments of repose, a celebration of life and the piano.
Performed by the composer