Chord History

A short appreciation for old chords in a new context.


(Solo Piano).
Total duration ca. 2 minutes (2014)
This piece is published by Editions Musica Ferrum
2 pages, 8.5" x 11", as part of a 152 page bound volume, "250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven - Vol. 1" which includes the first 25 pieces in the series.


Recorded in October 2014 in Bonn, Germany
by Susanne Kessel, piano.


Premiered by Susanne Kessel November 29, 2014, at Bonner Kunstverein in Bonn, Germany.


Audio clip recorded by Susanne Kessel.



Score cover

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More info about the project
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Listen to an excerpt




Purchase this score

Score is available from
Editions Musica Ferrum in a beautiful 152 page volume, which includes the first 25 short pieces of the series.




My friend, the superb pianist Susanne Kessel, shares something significant with one of our mutual muses, Ludwig van Beethoven: they both hail from Bonn, Germany. Eyeing the upcoming occasion of Beethoven's 250th birth year in 2020, Susanne devised a beautiful plan: to shepherd 250 short new pieces of music into the world in the composer's honor, from the hearts of artists who would happily consider themselves among his protégés. If only Beethoven could know the enduring power of his legacy.


So what better way to compose an homage to this giant, than to ask the devoted pianist for whom I was writing the piece what some of her favorite Beethoven piano chords might be? I knew the answer to mine: the iconic, imposing, foreboding, C minor start to Sonata No. 8, Opus 13, the "Pathéthique." My teenage hands passionately played each phrase thousands of times, and while poor Ludwig might have been rolling over in his grave (there's a good reason I chose to compose rather than perform), the influence of his music in my life has been monumental. 


Susanne submitted several fine suggestions, which are found throughout my little offering. And thus Beethoven, Kessel, and Shapiro, have become bound for a brief and touching moment in this Chord History.



250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven, Vol. 1
Chord History is featured on Susanne Kessel's 2016 2-CD set, 250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven, Vol. 1, on Obst LC07384. Click CD for more info.  
Arcana Album Alex Shapiro has produced a significant album of her solo piano works, including CHORD HISTORY, beautifully performed by New York pianist Adam Marks. The 2020 disc, ARCANA, has been released on Innova Recordings 041.  
Arcana Album Editions Musica Ferrum has released "250 piano pieces for Beethoven, "Selection of Easier Pieces", which includes selected works from Vols. 1-10 of the series, including Alex Shapiro's CHORD HISTORY. To purchase this edition, please click HERE.  


Enjoy this video of pianist Adam Marks
performing Chord History:


Chord History explanatory page  
Chord History program note

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