Dr Peter Dickson Lopez began studying piano at the age of six, and his passion for composition emerged early when as a child he began to write pieces emulating the style of Bach whom he was studying at the time. Lopez completed his B.A. in Piano Performance at California State University at Hayward and graduate degrees in composition at the University of California at Berkeley (USA) where he studied with Joaquin Nin-Culmell, Andrew Imbrie, Edwin Dugger, and Olly Wilson.

Lopez had to retire early from his career due to medical and personal concerns. By that time though, he already had a work released on the 1750 Arch Records label; numerous performances of his works throughout the United States (New York, San Francisco, Seattle, New Haven, Minneapolis, Dallas) and in Europe (Netherlands and Poland); and numerous awards and prizes (the George Ladd Paris Prize and Lili Boulanger Memorial Prize among others). It wasn’t until 2009 that those personal and medical concerns were sufficiently mitigated to allow Lopez to resume his life’s work. The current concert is a step in that direction as Lopez continues to reestablish himself as a composer worthy of interest to contemporary audiences.

Lopez composed the first four sections of Visions des reflets et nocturnes (Visions of reflections and nocturnes) in 2016. Though still working on completing the entire work with numerous additional sections, Lopez has released the first four sections of Visions as together they sufficiently satisfy the composer’s standard for a complete and meaningful musical statement. This seemingly counterintuitive and contradictory attitude (How can something incomplete be considered complete?), no doubt derives in the composer’s mind and ear from his use and development of extended moment form throughout the work.

Visions des reflets et nocturnes (Sections I-IV)

The notion of moment form was first introduced by Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007) in Kontakte (1958-60). Essentially moment form consists of the stringing together of independent musical components, gestures, or structures, but which are not developmentally related or perceived as a part of linear or directed motion. The key concepts in moment form are threefold: (1) each moment is a formal unit that is self-contained and has an immediately recognizable character; (2) the time frame for each moment is indeterminate, i.e., the moment can be as short or as long as needed; and (3) directed motion (moving to and from climaxes and structural downbeats) is not a factor in construction of moments and moment sequences. The ultimate aim of moment form was to explore ways of structuring sound that did not rely on, indeed contradicted, traditional concepts of time and directed motion.

Lopez absorbed and adapted this compositional approach in his own work but rejected the intentional dismissal of directed motion. For Lopez, directed motion is an absolute necessity in his music, and this traditional aesthetic finds its way into his music on many different levels. Lopez’ extended moment form is essentially a collection of small forms, interconnected in continuous variation, with cross-relationships deriving intentionally, subconsciously or randomly, the spinning out of which aims to discover and expose one or more “special moments”, which in traditional terms might be thought of as “climaxes”, but which are not always necessarily so in Lopez’ music. For Lopez, a special moment might be a moment of extreme calm, reflection and introspection.

Each section is preceded and followed by a short poetic descriptive phrase in French. The Preludes of Debussy come to mind where the composer lists the title of the piece at the end, but not as a literal description. These are the four sections of Visions that are performed on this concert:

I. Premier reflet … feuilles en baisse (First reflection … falling leaves)

II. Un petit morceau … de nocturne cassé (A little piece … of a broken nocturne)

III. Montage … en blanc et noir (Montage … in black and white)

IV. Un esprit solitaire … triste et joyeux (A lone spirit … sad and joyous)

As these titles might suggest, Visions des reflets et nocturnes can be thought of as a kind of dreamscape which reflects introspective and subconscious musings in a kind of “stream of consciousness”.

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... the SCO has been doing very interesting work indeed and certainly worthy of support.

A/Prof Stuart Geoffrey Andrew Greenbaum, Composer (Australia)

 

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....an amazing energy, funding and collecting works is needed to organize and realize an orchestra such as SCO and all these wonderful concerts, you make the quality of music rise in every musical work and there are not a lot of you out there.

Trimor Dhomi, Composer (Kosovo)

 

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I'm very excited to hear your interpretation and to bring the piece to life!

Luke Flynn, Composer (USA)