Recomposing Beatles for piano . . . transforming beetles into scarabs.
SCARAB is a collection of ten Beatles arrangements or recompositions for solo piano. I began writing these nearly twenty years ago. These tunes sit atop the summit of modern vernacular music. Each one is a gem worthy of creative compositional development rooted in the loved and familiar.
The goal of their rearrangement or recomposition is to let each tune evolve of its own right, spinning itself into wider and more referential musical horizons where the recognizable pops out like the sun behind the clouds, ranging from the transparent to opaque, but always embedded within. They drift along the way between popular and classical music, with touches of blues, gospel, folk, country, baroque, barrelhouse, atonality, rock and romanticism, crossing fences and deliberately blurring conventional stylistic boundaries to compel an aural integration at a higher level of musical synthesis.
The title Scarab, of course, is a play on beetle or Beatle, but also signifies the elevation of a common insect to a higher spiritual plane. That’s the alchemistic goal of this project: to musically transform the ubiquitous into the unique, the commonplace into the extraordinary, the beetle into the scarab, by tapping and unleashing the full force of its intrinsic potential to transform us and even itself.
The hypertalented Billy Test is the pianist-alchemist here, conjuring this musical magic, casting its spell and bringing notation from compositional prescription to performative incantation. Billy and I worked closely together for a year and a half on our collaboration and I hope to work with him again.
My personal relationship with the Beatles goes back to my early roots in Detroit, the cradle of Motown, when I heard I Want to Hold Your Hand for the first time one late sleepless high school night in early 60s on my tiny transistor radio I hid from my parents. I had no idea I’d become a composer, or let alone write these in homage, but I knew under the moonlight that I was instantly transformed and my world, the entire world, had changed.
P I A N O
Bass Hit Recording
American Music Lab
Henri Elkan Music Pub. Co., Inc.