Notes by Scott Holden © 2015.
Bagatelles won first place in the 2009 SCI/ASCAP student composition competition. Drawing heavily on hard-swinging jazz rhythms, these virtuoso works drive with energy and propulsion. They are not simply well-crafted improvisations; they integrate sophisticated harmony within the jazz climate. Pew has a particularly strong sense of sonority, and he uses the entire keyboard to great sonorous effect. The Seventh Bagatelle, "Locomotion," swings with unyielding drive, as if it were being played by two of Oscar Peterson's right hands at the same time. Unlike Kapustin's piano works, the harmony is derived from jazz, but ultimately transcends the style. (The Pianists Craft, Vol. 2)
Notes by Mark Tollefsen © 2014.
The virtuosic Bagatelles are playful and contain witty programmatic elements. "Gait" depicts a "swingin' septuagenarian" while "Laps" describes a game of tag between Pew and his daughter. "Pat," inspired by the jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, instructs the piano to keep the beat with audible foot taps throughout. This movement and most of the others feature heavy doses of jazz rhythms and harmonies. The lone exception is "Devotion," a loving tribute written by Pew for his wife Janae. Its simple beauty is in stark contrast to "Locomotion," with its tempo indication of "fast and a little crazy!" Pew reintroduces excerpts from "Motion" and "Groovin'" within this driving, final movement.