Adventure Suite for Piano is a collection of piano pieces I’ve written over several years adapted into a hero’s narrative. It tells the story of transformation through experiencing the unknown, triumphing over darkness, and then overcoming even greater challenges than expected.
The suite begins with three short prelude-like movements. The first two introduce two canonical characters: The Hero, and the Coward. These two movements are structured A -> B where A is the character’s initial propensity, that is, the Hero is bold and resilient, and the Coward is uncertain and wavering. B indicates the character’s transformed state: The Hero becomes wise, and the Coward becomes resolute. The third movement is joyous and care-free: the attitude of the untried heroes leaving home.
After leaving home, the heroes find themselves in lands they’ve never seen before. “Exploring the Unknown Lands” is the first transformative movement in which the expansiveness of the world is realized in the eyes of the heroes. It begins with the heroes leaving the forested boundary of their homeland, then peering through trees at the top of a hill, they glimpse the wondrous and expansive valley of the unknown lands. The movement ends with the heroes resolving to continue into the unknown. The last movement is a series of trials the heroes navigate and defend themselves from as they venture into the new lands.
After successfully facing their trials, the heroes find themselves wandering about a dark forest trying to regain their bearings. They eventually find their way to the base of a mountain and rest. It is eerily quiet, so they become nervous and suspicious that they’re being followed.
Suddenly behind them, the heroes hear a gruesome roar and many broad footfalls. Terror whirls down their spines as they spin rigidly around to face what comes. The Hero stands his ground barely repelling the beast but avoiding foolish boldness. The Coward evades the fight initially but eventually joins the battle. Together, the heroes destroy the beast.
After defeating the beast, the heroes get only a moment to collect themselves before hearing yet another roar behind them. Unwilling to battle again, they run in the only direction they can: up the mountain.
Thinking the first beast to be the real challenge, the heroes, being unprepared for this sprint, very painfully pushed their way up the mountain. After the hardest run of their lives, they manage to lose the beast on the mountain; emboldened by their achievement, they find themselves drawn to reach the mountain peak. They’ve made it this far and they want to see where their adventure has taken them from the other side of the valley. Upon reaching the peak, they feel a sense of completion, growth, and transcendence. They’ve overcome greater challenges than they ever expected.