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Intermezzo by Allan Segall

About two weeks ago, I asked Allan Segall if he had a short piece I could play at my Steinway to Heaven Welkom Fest. When he showed me his Intermezzo, I was immediately taken by its simplicity.

I decided to open the home concert with this slow and quiet piece to demonstrate the subtlety and gentle touch of the 1909 Steinway from New York.

In 1998, Allan Segall was commissioned by the family of a bride to write a simple piano solo for her wedding in Chicago. The inspiration for it came to him while walking home after giving a piano lesson. During those two hours, he composed the entire piece in his head, deliberately choosing 5/4 as the time signature to give it a lilt.

This piece has only been performed once --- during the wedding reception which Segall was not present. I felt privileged to bring it back to life again ---- to an audience of some two dozen people (aged 3 to 60) from all walks of life, who have travelled from as far as Helsinki, Copenhagen, Muenster, Alkmaar, Haarlem, Wassenaar, and Eindhoven.

It was only after listening to the recording of this home concert that I learned to appreciate the beauty in its simplicity.

Indeed, it has been said that simple pieces are the hardest to compose. My compositions are still too complex, in the sense that there are too many notes and too many ideas, somewhat similar to the stage of life I am in. In midst of the chaos of transition and relocation, I am still trying to declutter and simplify my life. It is a struggle to filter out the noise and find the essential things that really matter --- those values I want to focus the rest of my life on. I would like to get to the stage where I can hear every note and appreciate the beauty of a simple life.

Yes, my goal is to be able to compose simple but beautiful pieces, like the Intermezzo by Allan Segall, the genius of a composer I discovered in Amsterdam.

19 June 2004 Saturday

Intermezzo (sample)
mp3 (628 kB)
58 seconds
Intermezzo (full)
mp3 (2.2 MB)
2 min. 38 sec.
Intermezzo (1998)
composed by
Allan J. Segall
performed by
Anne Ku
recorded by
Robert Bekkers
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Anne Ku at Ilp in May 2001
Anne Ku

writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.
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