Piano Music by Robert Helps

Quartet (1971) [piano solo]

 — The work he dared not call “Sonata”.
Helps gave the four movements titles and expressed his anxiety with this large form in the second, called “Confrontation.”
The outer movements present Helps’ signature glacial clockwork using the entire registral range of the piano. (New Grove interpreted the title of the work by crediting Helps with being the first composer to divide the piano into four regions of 22 notes each. Helps’ response: “Far-f*#@ing-Out!”)
Movement II “confronts” traditional repertoire like Strauss’ "Rosenkavalier" and Ravel’s “Ondine.”
The short third movement exhibits a warmth unusual in this severe work.

Duration: 20 minutes

Broad registral spaces: the possible source of the 4-region/22-note hypothesis. Helps' Quartet for piano, Prelude, bars 48-50
I — Prelude, for D. Del Tredici
II — Confrontation, for D. Douglas
III — Intermezzo, for G. Busby
IV — Postlude, for J. Kuderna
Read Program note for the Quartet, by Robert Helps