and critical acclaim in Europe and the U.S. His compositions range from large scale ("Lamentations of Jeremiah" for double chorus, bass solo and orchestra without strings)to short duos and trios for winds and strings. Because he was a performing pianist, there is an abundance of keyboard music at all levels: solo and four hand, sonatas, suites and concertos.
He was a graduate of Kent School and received both a B.A. and M.A. from Harvard University where he studied composition with Walter Piston. The original manuscripts of Nicholas Van Slyck are in the Hans Moldenhauer 20th Century Music Archives at Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge MA. 02138.
Trudi Van Slyck has premiered more than 30 of her late husband's compositions in both Europe and the United States. These works include solo piano pieces as will as chamber music and concertos. She is a graduate of the Longy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a grant recipient for study in Germany. Currently she is a faculty member of the New School of Music in Cambridge and the University of Massachusetts in Boston.
"Pantomime", Fantasie for pianoforte four hands. Written in 1970, "Pantomime" uses all the resources of the piano which could possibly be called musical. Melodies appear from inside the piano and eerie percussive effects are made by the nails and fingers and sometimes the whole hand on the strings. None of these sounds are made by altering the piano itself (prepared piano). All are done by the lower keyboard player reaching inside the piano. The fourth movement is without special effects. The titles give the gist of the music which straddles the line between contrapuntal composition and "pop" tunes.
(Pantomime)-a sprightly 5-movement four-hand piece that entertainingly and atmospherically uses various sounds produced by working on the inside of the piano.
(Pantomime and other piano music)-(This music) effectively accomplishes everything it sets out to do: it sounds rewarding to play, and it's fun to hear. Boston Glob
(Pantomime)- "an unusually listenable disc of vivid piano music" Fanfare
(Variations on a theme of Schubert)--"a highly enjoyable set of variations with plenty of imagination and color"
American Record Guide March/April 2006
(Second Piano Sonata)-" Stylistically it stands between Prokofiev and Bartok. One is reminded of Prokofiev by the tenacity with which he persistently pursued the percussive motives in the outside movements. With the slow coda of the Allegro and the Andante he measures up to the best works of Bartok. This pianistic composition proved him to be an expert of the instrument. " Der Kurier
(Sixth Piano Sonata)-"Highly organized, it keeps in focus insistent rhythmic patterns that spring almost equally from jazz, with a touch of boogie-woogie and the influence of Bartok." Washington Post
Introduction and Thirty Variations on a theme of Franz Schubert (for solo piano)
The style of these variations is primarily romantic
(expressive). However, the harmony is based on the composer's way of using the twelve tone system. The twelve notes of the octave divide into two major and two minor triads, or into three seventh chords. The resulting sound is tonal though also modern. There are fugue variations, one in each part, based on a tone row (all twelve notes of the octave in sequence).
These variations can be listened to as a journey through the piano literature of the past. It is easy to recognize Schumann's style even in modern dress. Rachmaninoff, Bartok, Prokofieff, Bach and others all make an appearance. It is also possible to listen to these pieces as a series of interestingly textured piano music. A knowledge of the history of composition is not necessary for enjoyment.
1. VARIATIONS ON A THEME OF SCHUBERT: Introduction- Tempo di Valse
3. Var. 1, Allegro Moderato
4. Var. 2
5. Var. 3, Piu Vivo
6. Var. 4, Lento
7. Var. 5, Moderato
8. Var. 6, Allegro Moderato
9. Var. 7, Slow Waltz
10. Var. 8, Allegro
11. Var. 9, Lento, con moto
12. Var. 10, Allegro, non troppo
13. Var. 11, Rubato
14. Var. 12, Allegro
15. Var. 13, Andante
16. Var. 14 Alla marcia funebre, non troppo lento
17. Var. 15, Fuguetta (Moderato)
18. Part Two: Var. 16, Scherzando
19. Var. 17, Andante, rubato
20. Var. 18, Moderato, con moto
21. Var. 19, Presto, leggiero
22. Var. 20, Allegro Moderato
23. Var. 21, L'istesso tempo, ritmico
24. Var. 22, Allegro con brio
25. Var. 23, Adagio, rubato
26. Var. 24, Allegro, marcato
27. Var. 25, Strepitoso
28. Var. 26, Allegretto
29. Var. 27, Agitato con brio
30. Var. 28, Allegro
31. Var. 29, Waltz-non allegro
32. Var. 30
33. PANTOMIME-Scene-setting; Lento
34. Procession; Alla marcia
35. Monologue; Grave
36. General Dance; Allegro molto
37. Curtain; Lento