The original inspiration for the Maltese Islands Suite came from two of my piano students, Ralph and Reuben Jones, whose mother is Maltese, and who lent me some books about the island, where I’ve now spent two holidays The four-movement suite was therefore initially intended for the younger pianist. However, rather like Schumann’s Kinderszenen, advanced players may hopefully find something to enjoy here, too.
Just before Christmas, 2004, I was delighted to receive an email from Sharon Gauci (see photo), of Senglea, Malta, who had seen the suite whilst browsing the former SibeliusMusic, and asked whether she could give the world premiere of the work on Malta itself! It goes without saying that I immediately got back to say how thrilled I would be, if this were to happen, and I’ve subsequently dedicated the Maltese Islands Suite to Sharon (or ’Shar’, to her friends!). Sharon has since moved to the UK, where she is now teaching.
This opens the Maltese Islands Suite. It sets a serene and calm picture, with some slightly exotic ‘Mediterranean’ harmonies, to create a leisurely picture of this Southern bay in the main island, and where most of the fish is landed. There is some rhythmic freedom in the right-hand writing, over a lilting background in 6/8.
The whole Suite is also available from Score Exchange at a discounted price.