Vernacular Dances (Piano Solo)


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Solo Piano (1996) Three Movements. ca. 12’30”

Pianists seeking a thrilling contemporary work will be captivated by Charles Griffin’s Vernacular Dances. This virtuosic 3-movement solo piano showpiece draws inspiration from diverse American musical genres like blues, jazz, rock, minimalism and more.

The outer movements are rhythmically driven, asking pianists to treat the instrument as both drum kit and piano. Frequent accents pop from percussive textures, with ostinato rhythms interplaying in contrasting time signatures. The inner movement offers lyricism reminiscent of Copland, with bare, spacious writing.

Premiered at Steinway Hall by Perry Townsend and subsequently recorded by Teresa McCollough and Tomoko Deguchi, Vernacular Dances offers pianists a physically demanding workout. Rhythmically relentless yet harmonically intriguing, this is a landmark contemporary work sure to electrify audiences. Order your copy today! 

Watch pianist and visual artist Hugh Sung’s intrepretation of the first movement, filmed at Field Concert Hall, The Curtis Institute of Music:


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