Four Thoughts
for solo piano (2001/2004)
duration: 9’
GRT • 107

YouTube (The End of Winter)

recordings available
Satellite Mapping
Complete works for solo piano (1989–2014)
Amir Farid
Move Records, MD3402, 2016

Patrick Lawrence, piano
Reed Music

score available from
Australian Music Centre

program note
These Four Thoughts (2001/04) reveal the use of solo piano as a direct medium for artistic expression but also as a means to experiment with new musical ideas within limited structures. The End of Winter depicts a quiet optimism typical of Greenbaum’s work. Dedicated to Flemish composer, Wim Mertens, it elegantly opens this set of four miniatures. For Oliver was written to mark the birth of the Greenbaum’s nephew, Oliver Diplock. The simplest of the four, it is conceivably playable by small hands though subtle harmonic shades of blues and jazz create a tangible connection to the other three. In Spirals (commissioned by David Cramond) a somewhat more complex construction is found, expanding outward to cross–related harmonies as the ‘spirals’ elongate toward infinity. Based on a print of the same name by M. C. Escher, the original wood engraving was produced in December of 1953, the birth year of Kerry Landman (for whose 50th birthday the piece is dedicated). Finally, Bagatelle for Aksel was ‘penned’ by the composer some 4 weeks after the birth of his son. In the words of the new father: “It is a subtle variation on a well-known children’s song which I sang to Aksel in the hospital nursery about 20 minutes after he was born. This was the first music he heard in the outside world. Fragments of the song permeate the Bagatelle’s structure, sometimes overtly, though never stated in full.”

The first recording of this work was made by Patrick Lawrence in 2004.

Four Thoughts is a collection of four attractive miniatures. The first is ‘The End of Winter’- a serene, somewhat whimsical work; the second ‘For Oliver’ is a gentle lullaby, written to mark the birth of the composer’s nephew; the third ‘Spirals’ uses a five-note figure that expands outwards and upwards, then downwards; the fourth is the delightful ‘Bagatelle for Aksel’, based on ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ which Greenbaum sang to his son just after his birth.”
Gwen Bennett, Music Trust E–Zine, September 2016