# Meden Agan 4-6

I wrote the first 3 movements of *Meden Agan* in 2006 at the request of and dedicated to James Lisney, who performed them for the first time in the UK and the Netherlands in 2012. Since then I wrote another composition for piano solo at the request of Ralph van Raat called *Liebesträume*, which consists of 6 movements. After he gave two performances in the UK and in Amsterdam, I suggested in the programme notes that I could easily think of another batch of 3 movements for *Meden Agan*, making it two collections of six. James immediately took the bite and agreed to incorporate them in future performances. The numbers were inspired by Debussy’s *Images* and Bach’s *Partitas*, both consisting of six compositions, albeit that each partita again is a collection of 6 or 7 dances. Anyway, the number 6 seems an attraction of sorts, not least as a factor of 12 and 24, which have their own pedigree in the history and practice of music. As the titles of the first set of three are

- Rhetorica
- Poetica
- Erotica

it made a certain poetic sense to come up with another set of …icas, resulting in

- Metafysica
- Chromatica
- Esoterica

*Esoterica* was originally called *Mathematica*, but since I didn’t seem to be able to do the title as much justice as I intended, I changed it to *Esoterica*, with a reference to Fibonacci and Pisano whose work on the famous series (the mathematical limit of which culminates in the Golden Section) I wanted to honour with a challenge to wrestle music out of the numbers. Nothing new there! However, when I was still struggling on ‘Mathematica’ I made some sketches based on the Fibonacci series (mainly intervals and durations) and suddenly stumbled on a property, which seemed to be holding for a number of tests I performed. To clarify my findings I got in touch with a Fibonacci specialist[1] who was so kind as to point out that I had ‘discovered’ the Pisano Periods… Hence references to both number crunchers who instigated the design of a few modules that sounded rather ‘esoteric’. These relatively small fragments I linked together with transitional sections that are more loosely based on the Fibonacci series and seemed to fit in a mode I often use, marked in boxed digits. These were allowed to veer off more freely in directions they naturally seemed to lead into.

*Chromatica *is a more obviously musical choice and vigorously explores various ways in which chromatics capitalises on the 88 keys of the piano.

*Metafysica *finally is entirely based on transpositions of a mode consisting of the following intervals (in semitones): 1 2 3 1 2 3 1, which is vaguely Phrygian (but more ‘Gypsy’) with the 4^{th} and 7^{th} degree augmented. For notational purposes I chose its parallel major scale to set the key of each transposition. E.g. when the mode begins on E, the notation is in C, but with ‘a’ and ‘d’ sharpened:

E F G A^{-sharp} B C D^{-sharp} E

I am not sure if it always serves the pianist with an unambiguous reading of the music. It is a compromise and the alternative – no key, only accidentals – is not much clearer, especially when lots of black keys are involved. Time will tell…

[1] Dr Ron Knott, Department of Mathematics, University of Surrey.