My two new suites for piano (2008-9) were created in a rather odd way. They originally came into being as a set of seven “one page pieces”. These I wrote in the summer of 2008 whilst holidaying at the house of my teacher in the north of Italy. There I had spent a lot of time in the kitchen chatting with the cook. I sat at a large wooden table watching what he was doing (I am quite interested in cooking) all the while teasing him about girlfriends etc. – the usual banter. But I was writing music at the same time. It was a deliberate strategy to remove one layer of consciousness in order to see what would come out.
I placed the completed pieces in my luggage and brought them back to Amsterdam and stuck them in a drawer and forgot about them. On April 5th 2009 I found them again whilst rummaging around for music paper. I played the pieces through and decided to gather them into two sets of four (a piece from the original set of seven I had divided into two in order to do this) – a diatonic set and a chromatic set. So seven became eight and eight became two.
The first suite (the diatonic one) is dedicated to Alan Rowlands, my piano teacher at the Royal College of Music, for his 80th birthday. The second (the chromatic one) is dedicated to the Edinburgh pianist and teacher Richard Beauchamp. The pieces have no titles and are, as they say, “completely abstract” – (in other words, not in the least bit abstract.)