Time Curve Preludes (No. 1, No. 17)
William Duckworth’s Time Curve Preludes mark the end of Minimalism’s austere first phase and the start of something much looser and freer. Duckworth’s celebrated piano cycle was, said critic and composer Kyle Gann, “the first major work that sounded Minimalist but refused to satisfy Minimalist expectations”. Unlike the first generation, Duckworth wears his influences without shame. Bluegrass, medieval chant, the music of Erik Satie and Keith Jarrett, all rear their head at various points in this 24-piece cycle for solo piano. There’s a folk-like freshness to Preludes I and XVII. The playful first gambols around a bright E-flat major and its major seventh. The same melodic pattern returns in the seventeenth but in a more listless frame of mind. It lolls around dreamily, ornamenting its way (almost but not quite) into a minor-key reverie.