In 2009 I performed Chopin’s Preludes at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada. A composer resident there at the time suggested that I might enjoy exploring Seven Preludes Revisited
, a piece based on Chopin by an American composer friend of his, Mark Saya (born 1954). He was quite right, I did enjoy it, as have the audiences I’ve since performed it for—it is clever, serious, lyrical, touching and boppy by turns. I was therefore delighted when the composer sent me a copy of his Barcarolles
, which I also took up immediately and played in various places including the ever-inquisitive Husum Festival of Piano Rarities in northern Germany. Barcarolles
, subtitled ‘operatic paraphrase’, transcribes Jacques Offenbach’s famous operatic barcarolle Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour
(‘Beautiful night, oh night of love’), from Les contes d’Hoffmann
. Interlaced with the Offenbach are several elements from Chopin’s Barcarolle in F sharp major Op 60.
Mark Saya studied piano and composition at Indiana University South Bend and the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. Since 1992 he has taught theory and composition at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Barcarolles was first heard publicly in performances interpolated into John Cage’s Europera V in Los Angeles in 2011. This is its first recording.
from notes by Piers Lane © 2013