Four Aces Suite
Class: Original Piano Suite.
Comment: Billy's best known suite of pieces: the titles spring from his keen interest in card playing.
The Ace of
Clubs opens with eight bars of introduction and the
first theme is straightforward in style until the last four bars of its
sixteen-bar shape. When it goes in for off beat emphases, which become a
feature of the second theme, it requires skilful handling to ensure they get
the right amount of emphasis.
The Ace of
Diamonds is the shortest of the set with its theme getting, first, a
straightforward tune- accompaniment treatment, and then chromatically
descending harmonies in the left-hand part.
Ace of Hearts is the most melodic of the four. The first theme make a
feature of chords on the upbeats. The second section has a delightfullly
Ace of Spades is the most extended piece, opening with a long cadenza. The
first theme is pentatonic in style and the second section sets a flowing but
rhythmic figure against a tenor descant.
Billy also made a duet version.
See also the companion piece, The Joker, which uses themes from all four pieces.
mp3 clips played by Eric Parkin