Alexina Louie: Touch (1996)
This work was commissioned by Honens International Piano Competition for the Second Competition of 1996.
"Although the title of my new work 'Touch' came after its completion, I intended from the outset to write a work which would be virtuosic, challenging, and , as an unusual approach for my keyboard writing, basically light and fast. 'Touch' refers to the different kinds of tactile sensations necessary to perform the piece well (the 'touching of the keys'). In this respect the piece is a toccata.
The opening of 'Touch' is deceptively contemplative. The tempo marking almost doubles after this slow introduction, and the piece clips along quickly. In the "tranquillo" section which follows, the underlying theme of the piece is revealed, five chords in the right hand. Under the ostinato of chords a melody is stated in the left hand.
The structure of the ostinato develops with a very fast linear variant of the chords, under which there is once more a very simple melodic statement in the left hand. I have marked this section 'crystalline, light, and very fast'. The chordal theme continues to appear throughout the remainder of the piece, both perceptibly and imperceptibly.
'Touch' is a challenging keyboard work. It demands a pianist with impeccable technique as well as one sensitive to the piano's extraordinary range of sonorities."
- Alexina Louie