Watch my barefoot performance here:
© 2014 Stephen Limbaugh Music Publishing. All rights reserved.
Sheet music available at www.StephenLimbaugh.com/Store
Composed over the course of 12 years, the Millennial Suite blends the nostalgia-inducing harmonic and melodic proclivities of “pop” musicians in the early part of the 21st century with the the grand style of classical piano masterpieces to create a unique work for the concert stage.
Written primarily for an audience which came of age in the “pop” era, the Millennial Suite encapsulates their tortured moral realignment against the destructive elitism of post-modernism expressed through the yearning for a return to innocence and the glorification of personal suffering. These expressions are idiomatic of this generation commonly known as “Millennials.”
For the performer, a familiarity with “pop” music from this era would be advantageous, as many passages are improvisational in nature. Other passages require, due to their repetitious character, the performer’s own creativity in rendering properly shaped phrases and dynamic textures. Thus, treating the material like that of a Romantic composer (e.g., Chopin) risks banality. No matter how technically familiar, the thematic and harmonic content should not be treated as such — this is not perfumed music of dusty candle-lit salons.
On the tempi, much freedom is given to the pianist, and no indicated interpretative or expressive marking should be treated as sacrosanct. However, if there were to be a rule, it would be to never abandon a choice’s context in relation to what comes before or after that choice. The performer should not be averse to taking risks, as long as it doesn’t sever the relationship with the rest of the work.
Finally, note also the theatrical elements (especially in the Rhapsody) and the potential to conjure up Lisztian bravado. Remember that much of this theater is written to be a façade — an impressive one.
The Millennial Suite was first recorded by the composer, Stephen Limbaugh, in 2014. It was released in 2015 along with its sister work, Millennial Variations, on the composer’s debut album, Pants. That release garnered resoundingly positive critical acclaim and enjoyed unprecedented commercial success for what was at the time an unknown composer.