Lukas Ligeti: “Trinity” (2003) for solo piano
Lois Vierk: “Yeah Yeah Yeah” (1991) for solo piano
Jonathan Russell: “FU, D.T.” (2020) for solo piano – world premiere
Theresa Wong: “What Orbs!” (2008) for various size balls inside piano
PROGRAM NOTE FOR “F – – – YOU, DONALD TRUMP”
The 45th president of the United States is deserving of both mockery and rage. Mockery for the cluelessness, ineptness, stupidity, and pettiness with which he navigates everything in his life; and rage at his racism, misogyny, senseless cruelty, and the nearly limitless potential to harm others that the presidency has given him. The purpose of this piece, then, is to express both the mockery and the rage that he rightfully inspires in millions of people. It is not an attempt to cajole those who still support him into changing their minds, nor to inspire the Resistance to bold deeds of opposition. The goal is a more basic and primal one: enabling us to vent and experience emotional catharsis. For the millions of us who long to say “F – – – you” to him in person but will never have the opportunity, this piece is a way to collectively say it together. For maximal catharsis, the listener is encouraged to imagine the words of the title – and perhaps even sing them – along with the jaunty melody that recurs throughout the piece.
The piece was also deeply inspired by Ju-Ping Song’s enthusiastic response to my initial conception for it and the commitment, fearlessness, and power of her piano playing. Throughout the composing process, I was constantly imagining her intensity of focus and the ferocity of her attacking the instrument.
– Jonathan Russell, August 2020