piano solo (1973-2006)
Copied and edited by Kim Bastin
The Four Études date from two widely separated periods of Whiffin's career as a composer. The earliest, ordered last in this collection, was written in April 1973 after his return to Paris and to serious music after a decade and a half in Italy working mainly in commercial and popular music. A tour de force of combinatorics, it stands apart from its fellows and indeed from Whiffin's general approach to musical composition as expressive statement. The remaining three études were written as a set in 2004-6. The first, a set of variations on the French-Canadian children's song 'Alouette' (assumed by Whiffin to be French), showcases the composer's facility for parody and pastiche. The second is another moto perpetuo, warmer and more approachable than the earlier one. Étude #03, 'quasi una fantasia', utilises a quasi-tonal harmonic scheme in alternation and combination with serial (though not dodecaphonic) techniques.