Robert Helps’ Program notes

Desto Records More information about this LP Piano music
of Robert Helps

 This recording presents a cross-section of about 15 years of my solo piano compositions. The performer on this record is in each case the same one that gave the premiere of the piece he is playing. I find that approximately half of my compositions are for piano solo, perhaps partially because a good half of my career is that of being a pianist and a piano teacher. A great many composers today feel the piano to be basically an anachronism. I heartily disagree - the piano has for me a variety of elements that are not found to such a degree anywhere else. First of all it has the pedal - what an incredible device! Every time I hear an orchestral transcription of a piano piece (even by Ravel) I am once again impressed by the glow and magic the pedal can impart and which nothing else can. Secondly, the piano has a range of dynamics and a potential variety of expressivity that is colossal - very much more for me than any other single instrument. In terms of a sheer performance situation, piano and pianist for me represent a phenomenon unparalleled in the projectional of musical sound. There is no other instrument that so involves complete domination by one personality with one instrument in projecting- musical canvases of tremendously varied sizes, shapes and periods. A trip to Carnegie Hall — a view from the balcony of that single black object waiting on stage — the appearance from the wings of the single "contestant" — and the ensuing one-to-one combat — a scene that still after all these years is able to produce in me a sensation, an anticipation, unlike any other musical situation. 

Robert Helps