Piano Sonata No.2
‘Journey into Darkness’
duration: 22’
GRT • 222

score available from
Australian Music Centre

program note
i. Remote Connection
Satellite Mapping
Journey into Darkness

The phrase ‘remote connection’ has an inherent friction to it, conjuring both distance and closeness. Its common usage refers to wireless devices sharing information; but I’m interested in the human allegory. We can experience loneliness in the midst of a crowded room, yet also sense connection in extreme isolated places. In 2020, these issues played out in dramatic fashion across the globe due to the Covid–19 pandemic. In March, I hastily left Sweden (wonderful, slightly remote Visby) on a rebooked flight home to Melbourne and went straight into 14-day home quarantine, followed by a sequence of various levels of state lockdown and curfew. As for many people, 2020 was a year of seeing less people than ever, and
Remote Connection was written in reflection of that.

In 2006 Google Earth was just a year or two old and provided an unprecedented ability to view the Earth as photographed from satellites in space on a home computer. One could view remote exotic locations as quickly as one’s own residence. Zooming in, the image would be highly pixilated – but gradually filled in with detailed resolution.
Satellite Mapping attempts to capture that process of detail gradually revealed. It begins with spacious chords, gradually developing more detail until finally revealed as an unbroken bit-stream of data flowing in rapid arpeggios across the full length of the keyboard.

These first two movements were separately premiered by Liam Wooding and Amir Farid respectively, some years apart. Once it occurred to me that the musical ideas belonged together, I took a final sketch in August 2021 and developed it into a final movement to complete the narrative. The result,
Journey into Darkness, is a kind of epilogue. Walking into the tunnel that has no light at the end. Yet that is also an article of faith. That we might find what we can’t yet see. The premiere performance was given by Liam Wooding on 6 October 2021 at the Oasis Function Centre, Flinders University, South Australia.

“Stuart Greenbaum’s Remote Connection was next, a 2021 “lockdown” piece written for Wooding by the Melbourne composer. A distinctive jazzy syncopated figure repeats throughout and the pianist’s technical command in the rapid final section was impressive. Wooding played with flowing assured musicality, using a lot of pedal and giving a sense of a full texture with a lot going on.”
Elizabeth Kerr, Five Lines (New Zealand), August 2021