Seo, Juri / Mostly Piano
Juri Seo, Assistant Professor of Music at Princeton U., claims that as a composer, she wishes to celebrate the piano and cembalom, drawing from Beethoven a series of responses that include avant-garde elements and jazz. Even “errors” and “mistakes” assume an organic function in her music. She likes oppositions and contrasts, so various pieces exploit lyrical and violent impulses, static and disruptive elements, and serious and humorous moods. #three (2015) for piano, percussion and bass, attempts an improvisation in little jazz riffs. Three Mini Etudes in C (2011) explore, first, a lack of physical co-ordination; second, triadic chords of long-short duration; third, driving rock music. Piano Sonata No. 1 -“La Hammerklavier” (2015-16) takes its cue from Beethoven’s 29th Piano Sonata’s opening, imposing a polytonal experience and quoting, at will, from the original sonata. Seo compresses her thoughts into a sonata-form, fugue and coda. The 2nd mvmt, “Ricercare,” molds Beethoven’s Adagio into a distorted reverie, a wandering combination of motifs and 10 variations. Etudes for Cimbalom (2012-15) are 6 studies in touch and color, each with an Italian designation for meaning or association. The last piece, vi for piano and percussion (2010) utilizes traditional harmony to accentuate the irony of its limits. Using the piano’s sustaining pedal, Seo can impose other chords and harmonies above it to create bi-tonal sonorities.