Byron Petty - Quarks and Leptons (2012)
Byron Petty - Quarks and Leptons (2013)
Composed by Byron Petty. Performed by Jonathan Chapman Cook, February 2014 in Wilson Hall at the Lenfest Center for the Arts at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, VA. Recording engineer: Graham Spice.
Notes from the Composer
The genesis of Quarks and Leptons for piano solo may be found in its dedication to my long-time friend Charles Olin on the occasion of his 80th birthday. Beginning as a physics major at Dickenson College, Charles branched out into the world of art conservation and beyond achieving a stellar career as a practitioner and teacher. He was the founding director of the Smithsonian's conservation lab and later head conservator at the U. S. National Museum. Throughout his life he has always maintained a passion for the science of physics and astronomy.
When Charles moved into private practice he initiated a program of student apprenticeship. With that in mind, I began Quarks & Leptons as a musical work to inspire budding science-inclined students taking piano lessons. The physics of Quarks and Leptons (sub-atomic particles) is complicated; my take on them is not. It is a fanciful tribute responding to the quirky titles that physicists have given these particles: Up, Down, Strange, Charm, Bottom, Top. Simply conceived at first, these brief wisps of musical thought soon acquire a greater technical difficulty culminating with the set of three Leptons – Electron, Muon, Tau – requiring advanced piano skills.