R. E. SMITH - australian composer & educator

WORLD OF PLENTY – Performed by Jason White

World of Plenty, for prepared piano and speaking pianist, takes literal and metaphorical inspiration from the book Status Anxiety, written by acclaimed Swiss philosopher Alain de Botton. Fragments of de Botton’s text, proclaimed by the pianist, are woven through the detuned, bell-like resonances of the prepared piano giving weight to the central topics of wealth, judgement, purpose, and ideology. Read the text here

There are two ways to make a man richer: give him more money or curb his desires.
The ability to accumulate wealth is prized as proof of the presence of at least four cardinal virtues: creativity, courage, intelligence and stamina.
Poverty flouts the established rules of decency.
Confident that cast-iron walls separate our nature and situation from theirs, comfortable in the well-broken-in saddle of our high horse, we have exchanged our capacity to be tolerant for detachment and derision.
We seem beholden to the affections of others to endure ourselves.
The ruling ideas of every age are always the ideas of the ruling class.
Ideology is released into society like a colourless, odourless gas.
Money’s deification.
Before we begin measuring our peers, let us at least ensure that the taller ones have taken off their stilts, and that the shorter ones are not standing in a ditch.
What is the end of avarice and ambition, of the pursuit of wealth, of power and pre-eminence?
Why all this toil for triumphs of an hour?
Time makes a mockery of all human claims to earthly achievement and distinction.

PERFORMED: 10th April 2015, The Firehouse Space BROOKLYN
21st February 2016, The Jazz Room ONTARIO

ETUDE No. 21 – Performed by Håkon Magnar Skogstad

A piece for solo piano composed as a gift to a lover, and as a postlude to Philip Glass’ twenty etudes.

PERFORMED: 9th April 2014, Greenfield Hall NYC