Sandbox of Almach

Sandbox of Almach is based on different forms of play – Agon, Alea, Mimicry and Ilinx – as described by French sociologist Roger Caillois. This about 15-minute work for piano solo derives its main structure and atmospheres from Caillois’ description.

This work takes us through different moods and atmospheres. The journey starts with war-like Agon with a competitive subject. After this initial battle the atmosphere turns to more peaceful with improvisation-based Alea I, which also includes its own turmoil. Alea I doesn’t include any voluntarily played sections or variable order of sections, but instead it includes improvisational sections altering with fully written-out sections, and also mixture of these two. Its role in this work is also to act as an interlude between Agon and Mimicry.

Mimicry consists of different types of imitation. Even if it seems to lead into same kind of atmosphere than represented in Agon, it finally ends up to Alea II, which differs quite a lot from its first appearance of Alea. More things are happening at the same time, also improvisational and written-out sections are even more mixed. Finally Alea II leads quite directly to Ilinx.

Ilinx – whirlpool or vertigo – basically stands for altering perception, disorder, or loss of control. Ilinx shows many different layers happening simultaneously together, and at the latter half also glimpses of earlier sections when mixing everything together. The main harmony of the work – e-a-b-eb – which has been included in every section, is at its most clearly audible at the end of this work.

Almach – Gamma Andromedae – one of the brightest stars of constellation Andromeda, looks a single star for a naked eye, but with a telescope large enough Almach actually reveals to be a quadruple star. Almach has also borrowed its name to Sandbox of Almach, which has been also called as “Cosmic Sonata” by its performer.

Eriko Takahashi – to whom Sandbox of Almach is composed and dedicated to – gave the first performance of this piece in Vienna in 16th of October, 2020.

Drawing after Sandbox of Almach by Eriko Takahashi
Published with the permission of the author