Pacific Suite (2016) is a four-movement work for solo piano composed by the author of this paper, Holly Kordahl, that incorporates elements of several musical idioms, including Impressionism, tintinnabuli (as in the music of Arvo Pärt), post-modernism, minimalism and improvisation. This Doctorate of Musical Arts project consists of a descriptive paper, analysis, score and recording. The piece features varying levels of performer independence and improvisation along with notated music. Each movement is named after a different environment of the Pacific Ocean: Great Barrier Reef, Mariana Trench, Sunlit Zone, and Bikini Atoll.
Pacific Suite is engaging to mature pianists and accessible to students. The score of Pacific Suite is a blank canvas in some ways; almost all dynamics, tempi, pedaling, and fingerings are to be determined by the performer. The first movement, Great Barrier Reef, presents different musical vignettes. The second movement, Mariana Trench, requires the performer to improvise extensively while following provided instructions. The third movement, Sunlit Zone, asks the performer to improvise on a theme of Debussy. The final movement, Bikini Atoll, illustrates events of nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll in the 1940s.
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