Programme Notes – Bittersweet (1999)

For piano, two violins and cello

Bittersweet is one of the hardest challenges I’ve ever had. What I wanted was something musically sophisticated that has a certain amount of substance in a mere three minutes, but at the same time is appealing to an audience relatively unfamiliar with new music. I also wanted to make the piece playable for gifted youngsters and amateurs. The musical language of Bittersweet is diatonic with ‘wrong notes’ and is based on small motifs that make up a melody in quintuple time that I eventually couldn’t get out of my head.