On several occasions I had attempted to begin teaching my daughter, Leela, to play the piano, and, although initially keen, she had always been resistant, arguing that when I played I rampaged up and down the keyboard, not merely twiddling my fingers on the white notes near the middle.
Then, at Easter-time in 1999, when she was aged eight, she truly got bitten by the bug. Visiting friends in Sydney, Australia, she was impressed by the way her friend, Jake, played and began copying him and then composing her own tunes.
Upon our return to K.L. I began teaching her again, this time using a freedom technique in which she played black note clusters all over the keyboard or pentatonic runs in different configurations, as well as picking out, for instance, all the Ds on the keyboard with the middle finger of her right or left hand. She became passionately driven to learn, practicing at every given opportunity.
We have a digital piano in our living room which she was able to play, while using headphones, without disturbing us and one Saturday morning, after about two months of lessons, I happened upon her practicing and, as I couldnt hear the sounds she was making, it appeared, as she rampaged up and down over the black notes of the piano, that she was playing an epic Russian piano concerto, perhaps Tchaikovskys First.
I decided there and then to compose a small, yet epic concerto in the Russian style for her, and actually completed most of the work over that very weekend. I then recorded the orchestral parts, in an almost improvisatory manner, using a Yamaha Clavinova, and produced a CD and a piano score.
It seemed to me that at some stage I needed to produce a full score, and develop some sections that I felt were glossed over during the initial, feverish inspiration of the pieces creation. Having finally got round to finishing it off, this score is the result and is dedicated, with love, to my daughter, Leela.