In Time's Unfolding
for piano (2000)

7 min.

23 February 2001
Ju Ying Song, piano
Music Library Association 70th Anniversary Concert, CUNY Graduate Center
New York, NY

Written for the 70th Anniversary of the Music Library Association.

In Time's Unfolding, for piano (2000), was commissioned by the Music Library Association to commemorate its 70th Anniversary in New York City in 2001. In response to the MLA's request for music that would "look forward and reflect backward at the same time," I created a work that reflects the past and celebrates the moment, in which time unfolds over a musical landscape that is at once poignant and painful, lonely, exuberant, heroic, and – in a concentrated way – epic. I evoke my childhood memories of music by Robert Schumann, George Gershwin and Aaron Copland that interweave with self-references to several of my earlier piano works – Mestiere (1979), Piano Concerto (1983), Piano Sonata (1986; rev. 1987), and Companion Piece (for Morton Feldman) (1989/1991) – and the song, "Recovering" (2000). Schumann's influence appears as a direct quote from the opening of Carnaval, Op. 9 (1834-1835) as a way of moving the work forward, while I incorporate the sounds of Gershwin and Copland to subtly resonate in the texture of my work without directly imitating their music. The opening measures were suggested by the simple and stunning repeated two-chord introduction of Keith Jarrett's version of "Something To Remember You By" (Howard Dietz/Arthur Schwartz) on his 1999 solo recording, The Melody At Night, With You (ECM 1675). The title comes from the seventh section of Galway Kinnell's eleven-part poem, "When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone" (1990), where "as the conscious one among those others/uttering their compulsory cries of being here . . . all of them in time's unfolding/trying to cry themselves into self-knowing -/one knows one is here to hear them into shining . . ."

Mr. Biscardi seems to have begun early on with the usual modern music influences, but his broad musical tastes cultivated a postmodernism that delights in quotes and stylistic references, many to himself. In Times Unfolding (2000), for solo piano (also the title of this program), takes off from the opening chords of Keith Jarrett's version of 'Something to Remember You By. Its title serves as a good description for this dreamy little piece of night music. A number of fragments from other Biscardi pieces as well as a burst from Schumann's Carnaval serve to give the work its personal imprint. Pianist Peloquin plays it twice, once to start, and once to end the program. Jarrett's arrangement is, of course, itself a remembrance.
Allen Gimbel, American Record Guide (November/December 2011)

The CD – rather brassily – opens and closes with the same piano piece, In Time's Unfolding, taken from a poem by American author Galway Kinnell, 'When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone'. The work was commissioned by the US Music Library Association, and their stipulation that the music should "look forward and reflect backward at the same time" is presumably justification for the repetition. Incorporating snippets or ideas from Schumann, Gershwin, Copland, Carter, Jarrett and himself, Biscardi describes it as "at once poignant and painful, lonely, exuberant, heroic, and – in a concentrated way – epic." It is certainly very American, mellifluous and, though not in any way earth-shattering, a pleasant way to pass six minutes (twice).
Byzantion, MusicWeb International Classical Reviews (September 11, 2011)

In Time's Unfolding (2000) (for piano) opens and closes the program, and again refers to Schumann, but also has a distinctly American flavor. Biscardi mentions Gershwin and Copland as harmonic referents, and I hear Bernstein as well.
Robert Carl, Fanfare, The Magazine for Serious Record Collectors (January 2012)

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