Composed at intervals between 1962 and 1965, these short piano pieces are the first key work in Roger Smalley's output. Whilst their conciseness and structural tension clearly evince the influence of Webern and Boulez, these stimuli have been synthesised into a recognisably individual voice, which employs a range of ingenious mensural, dynamic and colouristic techniques that would later become central to the composer (himself a fine pianist). The second piece is an exercise not only in proportional durations, but also in the subtleties of keyboard attack and the natural decay of piano tone, whilst the last piece is more contrapuntal, based on canon and the medieval technique of isorhythm.
`These are finished compositions not sketches: there is no apparent hesitancy in the application of newly adopted methods, and the sense of keyboard style is almost faultless.'
Music and Musicians (Stephen Walsh), October 1969