Matt Van  Brink, composer, pianist, accordionist

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Only the Piano Will Give Us Our Peace (2004)

flute, clarinet, piano, violin, viola, and cello | 8 mins.

Commissioned and first performed by by Collage New Music


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PROGRAM NOTE (A sestina by Martin Kennedy)

Matt Van Brink (b. 1978) begins his piece
with a big chord in C Major.
It slowly builds to a crescendo.
Strings soon follow and the music develops.
Then, slowly, the music turns.
Before the piece winds
down, you will have heard a true piano.


Let me try again – you are a piano
And I am but a small piece
Of the waves and the winds.
This will slowly become a major
nuisance. But your dream soon develops
and takes some unexpected turns.


We can imagine elephants, ants, and terns
all gathered around a piano.
But it is what we don't see that really develops
as we make our way through the piece.
But there is an unpredictability that made your
spine shiver. Before the piece winds


down. Yet another run through the winds!
Damn it. This is not a matter of the twists and turns.
I suppose that we could always stare at Ursa Major
and dance on top of the piano.
Should you sell me for a silver piece,
You will see how a friendship develops.


And what a strange word! 'Develops'.
The longer that I scream it into the winds,
the more I feel that I am just a piece
of muck, and my mind turns
to murder… I hear a single note on the piano
and I think that it is a major
nuisance. I will talk to the Sergeant Major
and see what develops.


An accordion is simply a dwarf piano,
suffocated by the sound of giant winds.
Now the original theme returns,
but I barely remember the piece.
See how you made your rustling winds?
The dark room develops and plots its turns.
Only the piano will give us our peace.

First performed by Collage New Music
March, 2004, Harvard University

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