27 June, 2012

Black Dog

Black Dog was written for award-winning pianist Ben Socrates and won first prize in the 2012 John Halford competition for piano and composition judged by renowned virtuoso pianist Ian Pace.

The piece is based on the experience of depression and its effects on creativity. There is a long history of using the term black dog to refer to depression and my starting point for this work was a painting by Francisco de Goya entitled ‘The Dog’. This work was painted on the walls of his house sometime between 1819 and 1823 while he was suffering from severe depression. The works created during this period are often collectively referred to as his black paintings. Black Dog features solo piano and electronics triggered live according to the sound level produced by the instrument.