For My Father

Piano Suite No. 1: The Resonance of Childhood

(Solo Piano).
Total duration ca. 5 minutes (1996)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
Part of a Five movement work: "Variations on a Memory," "On My Mother,""Quiet Child," "For My Father," and "Older."
19 pages, 8.5" x 11".

Premiered in November 1996 in Los Angeles, CA.
by Zita Carno, piano.

Audio clips of mov'ts 1, 2, 3 and 5 performed by Hamilton Tescarollo, piano. Audio clip of mov't 4 performed by Susanne Kessel, piano.

Californian Concert CD
For My Father is featured on Susanne Kessel's 2006 CD, Californian Concert, on Oehms Classics OC 534. Click CD for more info.
Notes from the Kelp

For My Father is featured on the 2007 Innova Recordings CD, Notes from the Kelp (innova 683). Click CD for more info.

"The most serious work on the album, the solo-piano For My Father, depicts the descent into dementia of the composer's father; here again Shapiro is both emotionally immediate and capable of sustaining a structural process over a long stretch."

— James Manheim, All Music Guide

"...particularly compelling"

— David Toub, Sequenza21

"For my Father, a document of a gradual descent into dementia, is a dark episode, an eerie and questioning motive spiralling helplessly down into bitter acceptance."

— Tobias Fischer, Tokafi

"For My Father” is the fourth movement of Ms. Shapiro’s 1996 five-movement Piano Suite No. 1: The Resonance of Childhood, and the sixth track on this twelve-track CD. It’s an elegy on the inexorable descent of Ms. Shapiro’s father into dementia — an anguished, extended questioning of fate ending in quiet resignation the totality of the movement seeming to echo the sense of the words if not the original meaning of Beethoven’s famous written question and answer on the beginning and ending pages, respectively, of the last movement of his last quartet: “Muss es sein? Es muss sein. [Must it be? It must be.]”

— A.C. Douglas, Sounds & Fury

"For My Father” remains with the listener as it convincingly conveys the painful journey of loss."

— Sherry Kloss, Mu Phi Epsilon's "The Triangle"


Enjoy this video of pianist Susanne Kessel performing For My Father,
live at Villa Aurora, in Los Angeles:



View the first page and hear a music sample
of any of the five movements:

1. Variations on a Memory
view score
2. On My Mother
view score
3. Quiet Child
view score
4. For My Father
view score

5. Older

view score





Purchase the score to For My Father

Score available from
Activist Music for $12.00.



Purchase the score to Piano Suite No. 1

Score available from
Activist Music for $18.00.





Piano Suite No. 1: The Resonance of Childhood was composed as a set of personal reflections exploring early years, difficult parental relationships and ultimately the acceptance of conflicting emotions. Intentionally simple, this piece is a personal reflection of a childhood that remains unsettling. The opening set of variations sets the tone for the entire Suite: searching and hope that are met with the uncomfortable combination of disappointment and acquiescence.

Of the five short movements, perhaps the most intimate is the fourth, entitled For My Father, which was written in response to a beloved parent's descent into dementia. As some notes fall downward and others struggle against that decline, the music reflects the composer's experience of watching a brilliant parent’s irreversible descent. Echoing the personal journey of witnessing her father’s essence evaporate over seven years, this elegiac piece ends with the quiet, resolute acceptance of loss.


1. Variations on a Memory D  
D2. On My Mother
top S
On My Mother
D3. Quiet Child
top S
Quiet Child
D4. For My Father
top S
For My Father
D5. Older
top S
top S

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