Piano solo – Clinical Observations: An Autobiography
Piano solo - Clinical Observations: An Autobiography
Clinical Observations for piano solo is an abrupt departure from James Domine’s usual way of working in that it is not modeled on any pre-existing form such as sonata or anything else, rather it is a stream-of-consciousness series of improvisations linked together by a ritornello that serves as a connective tissue between the discreet episodic passages that comprise the work. The composer says “I purposefully set about to dispense with any idea as to how the music should go or any plan that might direct the flow one way or another. Rather it was my aesthetic objective to present a series of improvisations almost like a diary, as they occurred to me on a daily basis. The piece is a kind of self-analysis, or autobiography in music. The ritornello might be thought of as the psychotherapist who from time to time interjects with a question, how do you feel about this or what did you think about that? In that sense, the ritornello is a rhetorical question mark that provokes a musical response.” As it exists today, Clinical Observations consists of twenty-seven scenes. The final passage concludes with an arpeggio in the key of D-flat, but this should not be understood as the end of the piece, rather it is where it has currently come to a temporary pause. Clinical Observations could easily be continued like a serial television show.