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My Final Pieces are a series of 20 brief sketches, quickly written down and occupying the borderland between composition and improvisation. They show a variety of styles, but minimalism predominates: in the use of the permutation of a few notes or chords ( in nos. 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 10, 16, 17 and 19); of limited material such as scales- e.g. the whole tone scale in no. 3 and the Japanese pentatonic scale in no. 5; and repeated rhythms (in no. 8 in which the pattern is 3 bars of 4/4 + 1 bar of 6/4, no. 9, and no.14 in which a pattern of meters is set up and repeated). Some pieces are structured around simple mathematical processes- like adding or subtracting notes in a phrase (nos. 2, 3 and 6). There are two references to other composers: no. 20 is based on the opening chords of Palestrina’s Stabat Mater and no. 15 includes some very Vaughan Williams-like parallel triads!
The apparent semi-breves in nos. 1, 10 and 17 are to be played in free time and are not meant to be equal in duration.
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