A Great Opus

In February 2012, composer, pianist, and educator Allen Bonde completed A Thousand And One Interludes, an extensive, multi-year project to compose a one page piano interlude every day for 1,001 days. A massive undertaking, the project illustrates Bonde’s prolificness, dedication, and tenacity as a composer, as well as his adhearance to his own personal goals while maintaining his professional career.
Of A Thousand And One Interludes, Bonde writes the following:

A Thousand And One Interludes, for solo piano, was begun on May 11, 2009 and finished on February 5, 2012. An interlude is generally perceived as an intervening episode or period of time; or, a piece of music played between scenes in a play or in an opera. But there was a prelude to the Interludes

One of the most fascinating courses I taught at Mount Holyoke College was Beginning Composition. In this course the young aspiring composers were instructed to write a series of short pieces, each stylistically challenging. A question frequntly asked by the students was ‘How long should the piece be?’ My answer was invariably ‘About a page!’
When my singing daughter, Mara, MHC ’91, left for Paris on September 9, 1989 for her junior year abroad, I missed her terribly and decided, that day, to compose a page of music for solo piano. I continued that practiced until the conclusion of A Page A Day For A Year And A Day on September 9, 1990.
A few days after my Farewell Concert given on May 3, 2009 at Mount Holyoke’s Abbey Chapel, I decided to once again engage myself in a compositional venture of even greater length. As with the realization of A Page a Day For A Year And A Day, there were similar and new interventions – concerts, the composing of other works, travel, the release of SOUND SPECTRUM, etc., which, at times, created a hectic environment while trying to fulfull my new personal compositional pledge. That pledge, as before, included following my own imposed strict enforcements of procedure: each piece must be handwritten within the 24-hour period of that particular day, and no pre-musical ideas may be utilized in the new day’s composition. Always fresh – a diary of moods – a new birth.
Composing A Thousand And One Interludes was like taking a ‘musical vitamin’ every day, helping to produce an intervening episode or period of time to strengthen the mind and purify the soul with music between the scenes.
It is a fact of life that one must retain a sense of joy and eager anticipation. As a composer and pianist, I am continually cognizant that the order of musical notes in a composition simply reflects the flow of life: one note leades to the next – and to the next – until fulfillment is achieved. I want my students to sense that same revelation with joy and eager anticipation.”
Allen Bonde

On November 15, 2011, Navona Records released SOUND SPECTRUM, an album of Bonde’s works for piano, soprano, and orchestra. Click here for purchase links and to learn more about the album.

One thought on “A Great Opus

  1. Allen Bonde reveals here some of the sensitivity that has made him the consummate creative man he is. The paternal love for his absent daughter that gave birth to 366 daily “I Miss You”s, the Midwestern work ethic distilled into the composer’s discipline which produced these 1001 (!) successive pieces, and the born teacher’s desire that his students not merely learn, but Experience, the artist’s new look at the human condition as they join him in the joyful revelation of creativity.

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