The Mercy of the Storm (1980-81)

The Mercy of the Storm takes its title from a poem by the great proto-beat poet Kenneth Patchen; the title of the poem begins:

Harrowed by these apprehensions he resolved to commit himself to the mercy of the storm, as of the two evils the least, and penetrate straight forward through some devious opening, until he should be delivered from the forest. For this purpose he turned into the road watched over by madness and terror, knowing that his pursuers would never follow him there...."

The Mercy of the Storm is a minimalist piece, with repeated modules whose numbers of repetitions are left to the pianist, but it was an attempt to remove minimalism from the diatonic tonality with which it was associated and infuse it with a dark chromaticism. At one point there is even a harmonic quotation from the Adagio of Bruckner's Eighth Symphony.

World premiere: April 30, 1981, by the composer at Northwestern University

PDF Score

- Kyle Gann

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