One day while at university studying for my undergraduate degree, I went to the library and while moseying through the score shelves I came across somebody’s complete oeuvre, which in my befuddled probably post-allnighter state I misread as their complete oeufs. The idea of having a ‘complete eggs’ amused me so I started a series of short piano pieces and called them all ‘eggs’. One day I hope somebody will come across my Complete Oeufs in a library and do a double-take 🙂
These piano eggs now seem to take a similar place in my writing as mazurkas did for Chopin – they’re something I come back to again and again. I feel free, when writing an egg, to do whatever I feel like. I don’t have to worry if the idea seems silly, if the harmony isn’t correct, if it only has one line. I don’t have to make it of a certain standard of difficulty or simplicity. These are pieces I write just for me, and for anyone who chooses to perform them, I think of them as existing for the joy of playing them rather than for an audience.
Do what you will with the overall tempo, with rubato, with dynamics. Do whatever makes you feel good playing them at the time.
I started these pieces in 1996 when I wrote The Four-Egg Omelette. The series currently comprises:
- The Four-Egg Omelette: consisting of Egg the First, Egg the Second (Interlude), Egg the Third (Sunny-side-up Waltz) and Egg the Fourth
- Egg the Fifth (score available for free download under a Creative Commons licence on this site)
- 2×4, a set of two-part inventions: consisting of Egg the Sixth, Egg the Seventh, Egg the Eighth and Egg the Ninth
- Egg the Tenth: A Whitman Interlude
- Egg the Eleventh: An Odd Fugue for Francis Western-Smith
- In Detail (Egg the Twelfth)