Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author



The Details

For Piano Four Hands

  1. Black Key Inferno
  2. Angel’s Hair Redux
  3. Punishing Exercise

(2018) (ca. 8’)

The word “exercised” means two very different things, each meaning being operative in this piece. On one hand it means “to have gotten exercise and to have put into action or use”; the technical demands of the piece certainly do put ZOFO through their paces. But the word also means “to annoy or worry”, emotions that I think we have all felt when having to play certain piano exercises.

Exercised consists of three “etudes on etudes”: three “exercises” for piano duo based loosely on three pre-existing etudes for solo piano: Chopin’s Etude Op. 10, No. 5 (also-known-as “Black Key”); an etude of my own entitled “Angel Hair” from a set entitled Dude ‘Tudes, composed in 1991 for the late and greatly missed Robert Helps; and the first 20 exercises of Charles Louis Hanon’s dreaded The Virtuoso Pianist, which was first published in 1973 (and which, I’ve been told, continues to be used to torture political prisoners in Paraguay).

Exercised was composed between February 8 and March 7, 2018. It is dedicated, with love and the utmost respect, to Keisuke Nakagoshi and Eva-Maria Zimmerman who together constitute the “20 Finger Orchestra” that is ZOFO.