Eros Piano

for piano and orchestra (1989)

John Adams on Eros Piano

Eros Piano is a quiet, dreamy soliloquy for piano, played against a soft, lush fabric of orchestral screens and clusters. It was a direct response on my part to a piece by Toru Takemitsu, riverrun, that I had heard in a performance by the English pianist Paul Crossley. I met Takemitsu once when he visited my home in Berkeley with his wife. At first he struck me as a small, delicate and refined man, guarded and painfully shy. But as the evening wore on I saw him become more relaxed and convivial. An easy effusiveness emerged, revealing a sly, sardonic sense of humor that seemed to know no point of exhaustion, forcing me at 3 AM to beg off and retreat to bed. Among the things we discovered we had in common was a love for the jazz piano style of Bill Evans. I wrote Eros Piano as a tribute to Takemitsu, to Bill Evans, and also to Paul Crossley, whose exquisitly balanced sense of color and attack in music by Debussy, Ravel, Messiaen and Takemitsu reminded me so strongly of that of Bill Evans.

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solo piano, 2 fl (1&2=picc), 2 ob, 2 clar (2=bass cl), 2 bsn, 2 hr, perc (vibes, crotales, maracas), keyboard sampler (optional) and strings.

First performance: November 24, 1989, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London. Paul Crossley, piano; London Sinfonietta, John Adams, cond.

Duration: 15 min.

Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes

Dedicated to Paul Crossley


American elegies
Paul Crossley, piano
Orchestra of St. Lukes
John Adams, conductor
Nonesuch 79249