Piano Music by Robert Helps

Valse Mirage (1977) [piano solo]

 — Helps‘ contribution to Yvar Mikhashoff‘s Waltz Project, uniting dances (more or less swinging in 3/4 time) by 25 contemporary American composers, published as a collection by C.F. Peters, Inc. in 1978.
Valse Mirage seems, in retrospect, to be the embryonic precursor of Helps‘ later piano masterpiece Shall We Dance. The work is gracious and ephemeral, pianistically approachable even for the younger, less intrepid performer.
Seventeen entries of the Waltz Project were recorded in 1981 by pianists John Cobb, Alan Feinberg, and Yvar Mikhashoff - including John Cage‘s flippant “49 Waltzes for the 5 boroughs,” Phillip Glass‘ minimal “Modern Love Waltz,” Roger Sessions‘ charmingly unlovable “Waltz” (dedicated to Helps), Milton Babbitt‘s quirky “Minute Waltz, or 3/4 ± ⅛” and, of course Helps‘ Valse Mirage.
Although this work seems destined for exile in the ungrateful category of the “alienating contemporary encore,” it enjoys this oblivion in good company.

Duration: 2 ½ minutes.

The original LP album cover for The Waltz Project, containing Valse Mirage
Listen to Valse Mirage
by Amy Briggs (live video performance)
Live video performance - Valse Mirage