Piano music by Roger Bourland

June 1, 2006

Roger Bourland ca. 1975; Madison, Wisconsin

Roger Bourland, ca. 1975

Preludes Book I (1973-4)

  1. Papillions du printemps
  2. Stabilis
  3. Whyte Minuet
  4. Locria
  5. New Mexican Ninths
  6. Stabilis
  7. Musette
  8. Fair

ECS Publishing (available through J.W. Pepper) $10.45


Stella Matsoukian, piano

This is a set of small piano pieces I wrote during my first two years as a composition major at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. They were all done in my theory classes (two TAs I remember were Karen Brandser and Chet Biscardi). A few others were done instead of papers for my music history classes. When EC Schirmer published the music, I dedicated each of the pieces to various friends and family members. Martin Nathan, Sam Bassett, Angus Whyte, Michael Lafferty, Andrew and Elizabeth Bourland.

Ides Book I (1974); 7:00

  1. Prelude
  2. Birds of night
  3. Achaia
  4. Arrangement I
  5. Hazes
  6. Fantasy

Yelton Rhodes Music; YR1056; $8.00


Glenn Holmer, piano

I was looking for a different name for a series of short, character pieces for piano and came up with the name of “Ides.” The game I played with myself was that I would compose one piece each day during the ides of March. In this set, I intuitively mimic my compositional heroes of the time. I wrote the piece for my best friend at the time, Glenn Holmer. Glenn played Scriabin sonatas and Stockhausen Klavierstück from memory. I was in awe of his genius. He was passionate about new music. Ultimately he lost faith in contemporary music and moved back to Sheboygan to work at a steel factory. I was in touch with him briefly a few years back. He works for a software company.

Ides Book II (1975); 9:30

  1. Prelude
  2. Palto
  3. Arrangement II
  4. Nones
  5. Cascades
  6. Laminar
  7. Ides of March
  8. Phoenix

Yelton Rhodes Music; YR1057; $10.00


Janet Shimon, piano

In this set, I wrote each piece in the ides of March 1975. This time, I mimicked the techniques of many of my musical heroes. Each technique was different, and I wanted to see whether using technique itself could provide a satisfying structural contrast to the overall piece. I find each one to be an interesting little universe that I visited and never returned to. I wrote the piece for a buxom, red-headed, big-hefarted gal named Janet Shimon who plays here.

Ides Book III (1977); 10:00

  1. Cascacia
  2. Kescha
  3. Schubert II
  4. Nones II
  5. Abyss
  6. De Profundis

Yelton Rhodes Music; YR1058; $12.00


Robert Rowe, piano

Robert Rowe and I were great friends throughout our undergraduate education. We inspired each other, competed with each other, taught each other, and hung out. When I went to NEC, he went to University of Iowa. He asked me to write him a set for his concert which I was more than happy to do. In this set, I move back to less technique and more intuition. Some are concerted efforts to write music that is not quite so dissonant as 12-tone, but somewhere between Debussy, Monk and Stravinsky.

Five Miniatures (2000)

  1. Tranquillo
  2. Maestoso
  3. Giocoso
  4. Slow and ponderous
  5. Moderato

Yelton Rhodes Music


HoJun Lee, piano

This set was commissioned by Jorge Mester and Kimball Wheeler for an old friend of theirs who had been a pianist in her younger years. She was now 93 and had nine fingers: that was the parameter I had to consider in this little set of preludes. The background was that someone broke into her house, pulled a gun on her, she held up her hands to defend herself, the gunman shot, it tore off her left hand pinky, and the gunman fled. The finger was subsequently reattached, but never regained any coordination. This is my most Russian sounding music to date. I’m not sure where it came from, it just popped out that way.


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