Aere's Piano Music


Aere, performing on piano at the Liberty Senior Center, post-retirement

This web-page explores my piano music, from by very first composition, to my best composition composed at least a decade later.

For each of the audio files, you should be able to click on the link, and it will play it. If you have slow Internet speeds, you may have to right-click on the link, and select “Save Link As...” (or something like that), to download it to your computer, and then you can double-click on the audio file you just downloaded.

Many of these pieces also include the sheet-music for them. On many of those pieces the composer's name is different, because my name was different then, and I looked a lot different. That transition too, comes out in my music, as it was part of my life.

All but one of the recordings were done using a reel-to-reel recorder, with not-so-good microphones, suspended from the raised lid of the Knabe baby-grand piano that I liked best to play on, during my first year of college.

Though the quality of the recordings are not the best, they are of me performing decades ago – a real 'blast from the past'.

You are free to use this work in any way you want to, as long as you attribute me as the author. Depending on the scope of the use, it would be nice if you could also tell me about it, at: aere@keymusician.com


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Etude In B-Flat Minor

My first piece was inspired by hearing a performance in church (probably by my piano teacher, Carma Swallow), of Christian Sinding's “Rustle Of Spring”.

I liked the sound of the fast arpeggios, and the harmonic landscape they produced.

I discovered I could do the high-speed arpeggios if I worked at it, finding that my fingers would do them 'on auto-pilot' so to speak. I experimented with my own harmonies, and found that one would lead to the next. I kept putting the different harmonies (and tunes that sprang from them) together, and before long, I had my first piece!

I sub-titled this piece 'The Snowstorm'. Hearing the music, I picture in my mind, the bluish light from the yard light, seen through my basement window on a cold winter night. Against that light, the snow-flakes appear, cascading down more and more thickly, driven by the wind. The storm ebbs and flows, finally thin out to just a few of them, leaving the cold winter landscape, covered in snow.

During this time, I was taking piano lessons from Catherine Nielson, who was a well-known teacher of classical piano in the town. These lessons were one day a week, during band period.

That fall, I competed in the regional solo & ensemble festival (held in Cedar City, Utah) using this piece, competing against real pianists who had played piano most of their lives, and to my surprise, won a first-division rating! Starting as a late teen in learning piano, I never considered myself to be a real pianist. My sight-reading skills have always been poor, as I concentrated instead on composition and memorization.

So here is the piece (an MP3 file), accessed using the link below (use your browser's “Back” button to return here after playing it):

Etude In B-Flat Minor – audio file

Here (in the link below) is the sheet-music for that piece:

Etude In B-Flat Minor – sheet-music

Sonata # 1 – 3rd Movement

My second piece was composed as a separate piece. I had not yet thought of composing a piano sonata, and as part of that sonata later, it isn't in sonata-allegro form. I originally called it an Intermezzo, but it doesn't correspond to the A-B-A form Brahms used in his intermezzos, which I somewhat adopted later.

I don't remember a lot of particulars about this piece. It alternates between rhythmic, bold sections, and dream-like sections. I performed it once for a high school assembly.

So here is the piece (an MP3 file), accessed using the link below (use your browser's “Back” button to return here after playing it):

Sonata # 1 – 3rd Movement – audio file

Here (in the link below) is the sheet-music for that piece:

Sonata # 1 – 3rd Movement – sheet-music

Sonata # 1 – 2nd Movement

My third piece was also composed as a separate piece. I had not yet thought of composing a piano sonata. I originally called it an Intermezzo # 1, and it is roughly in the A-B-A form Brahms used in his intermezzos, which I was beginning to adopt.

This was one of my mother's favorite pieces of mine. To me, the entire piece has a glowing, dream-like character. I performed it once in an L.D.S. church meeting in Scipio.

So here is the piece (an MP3 file), accessed using the link below (use your browser's “Back” button to return here after playing it):

Sonata # 1 – 2nd Movement – audio file

Here (in the link below) is the sheet-music for that piece:

Sonata # 1 – 2nd Movement – sheet-music

Sonata # 1 – 1st Movement

At some point, I got the idea of composing a sonata, and started working on its first movement. It's probably not my 4th piece. It seems like there were some other pieces I composed in the interim. I don't have recordings of me playing them on piano, but at least one of them is reborn as a piece for the Roland D20 synthesizer.

There is a piece I performed for the Junior Prom, that is lost. I never recorded it, and never wrote down the music.

This piece (the sonata first movement) is one of my most difficult pieces to perform, and it would be a major effort now to re-learn it. It's not in sonata-allegro form, but, oh well...

There's a section near the beginning, and again further on, that I came up with on returning from hiking the Pavante Butte volcano, I sat down at the piano, and it just seemed to take form, to me, an image of an overcast, windy day, and desolate desert scenery.

So here is the piece (an MP3 file), accessed using the link below (use your browser's “Back” button to return here after playing it):

Sonata # 1 – 1st Movement – audio file

Here (in the link below) is the sheet-music for that piece:

Sonata # 1 – 1st Movement – sheet-music

Etude In The Lydian And Dorian Modes

This piece I composed, and learned to perform but only made a start at writing down the music.

In it, I am starting to make constant use of three-against-two poly-rhythms. Come to think of it, how could a Brahms fan not make constant use of three-against-two poly-rhythms?

You can hear the Lydian mode by playing a scale of all-white piano keys, starting on an F. Likewise, you can hear the Dorian mode by playing a scale of all-white keys, starting on a D.

This piece is actually a closer relative to the first movement of my sonata #1, than it is to my Intermezzos.

So here is the piece (an MP3 file), accessed using the link below (use your browser's “Back” button to return here after playing it):

Etude In The Lydian And Dorian Modes – audio file

Here (in the link below) is the fragmentary sheet music for this piece. It starts with the first page of the sheet-music, then contains two pages of the middle part of the piece:

Etude In The Lydian And Dorian Modes – sheet-music fragments

Lost Music Restored, With Studio-Quality Recordings

I was lamenting not having a recording of “Fly Away” (formerly “Un-Named # 1”) and “Morning Wind” (my last piano composition, that I never performed live, or made a recording of such a performance).

It also seemed a shame that the recordings I have are of such poor quality, coming from an entry-level reel-to-reel tape recorder in the 60's.

I then realized that for all of these pieces, there is a studio-quality recording of the piano part, residing in my orchestrations of my piano music I did on the Roland D20 synthesizer. This is in the form of a MIDI file, which is the performance data (like an electronic player-roll for a player piano).

The piano sound on the Roland synthesizer is not very good, but all I needed to do to get a first-rate recording of these pieces, is to convert them to be played using Qsynth (using the FluidR3_GM sound-font), and then record just the piano track to an audio file.

So here are all of those pieces, in studio-quality recordings!

Fly Away

This piece was my mother's favorite. She even wrote words to it and sang it, with me playing, and I recorded that performance. Unfortunately, the piano we used (at the church) was so badly out-of-tune, that I will not publish that recording.

But where I extracted the piano track from my Roland D20 orchestration of the piece, converting it to play on Qsynth, I now have an excellent recording, though not including my mother's singing, unfortunately.

So here is the piece (an MP3 file), accessed using the link below (use your browser's “Back” button to return here after playing it):

Fly Away – audio file

Here (in the link below) is the sheet-music for that piece:

Fly Away – sheet-music (a PDF file)

Intermezzo # 1

This is my first Intermezzo – somewhat in the form of the Brahms intermezzos that I loved to attempt playing. It was used as the 2nd movement of my piano sonata, which you heard earlier. But here it is separately, as an intermezzo – this time as a studio-quality recording.

So here is the piece (an MP3 file), accessed using the link below (use your browser's “Back” button to return here after playing it):

Intermezzo # 1 – audio file

Here (in the link below) is the sheet-music for that piece:

Intermezzo # 1 – sheet-music

Intermezzo # 2

This is another of my Intermezzos.

The beginning of the piece was composed as I came in from an oppressively hot day, working on the farm, and this section captured (for me) that feeling of that day.

So here is the piece (an MP3 file), accessed using the link below (use your browser's “Back” button to return here after playing it):

Intermezzo # 2 – audio file

Here (in the link below) is the sheet-music for that piece:

Intermezzo # 2 – sheet-music

Intermezzo # 3

This is another of my Intermezzos – probably the most similar of them to the Brahms intermezzos.

It doesn't end with the major chord of the key-signature, but intentionally, on a major 7th chord, as it doesn't pretend to answer the musical question, but in ending, poses another question.

Mostly in a agitated three-against-two rhythm, the first section (the statement) glows with a happy yet sad feeling. The counter-statement is more dramatic, and longer.

The final section (the return), comes back more agitated, and more toward the sad end of the spectrum, with more dissonance.

This is my next-to-favorite of my piano compositions.

So here is the piece (an MP3 file), accessed using the link below (use your browser's “Back” button to return here after playing it):

Intermezzo # 3 – audio file

Here (in the link below) is the sheet-music for that piece:

Intermezzo # 3 – sheet-music

Intermezzo # 4

This my favorite of all of the piano music I composed. It was composed a decade or more later than the other pieces.

Of the three sections of the piece, I composed much of the counter-statement first, then the statement, and finally the return.

So here is the piece (an MP3 file), accessed using the link below (use your browser's “Back” button to return here after playing it):

Intermezzo # 4 – audio file

Here (in the link below) is the sheet-music for that piece:

Intermezzo # 4 – sheet-music

Morning Wind

This is the last piano piece I composed. It is difficult to play, hearkening back to the style of my sonata first movement. Being so difficult, I never performed it or recorded it.

Years later, when I was orchestrating my piano pieces, I finally played it as a track on the Roland D20 synthesizer. Fortunately, given its difficulty, I could perform it in sections, doing over-dub recordings. So at long last, I had a MIDI sequence of the piano part, which I improvised other instruments along with.

In this case, we have only the piano part, but played using a better-quality piano sound, using the Qsynth software synthesizer.

Here is the piece (an MP3 file), accessed using the link below (use your browser's “Back” button to return here after playing it):

Morning Wind – audio file

I don't have the music written down for it, but if anyone really wants to learn to play the piece, I could print it out using a sequence-editor, though the notation would not be very pretty where it isn't quantized (and quantizing it would mess up the variable tempos and the rhythm).


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