When your instructor tells you to write a piece for piano using every A on the keyboard and nothing else, you cry for a little while, then go for it. Flatline is a piece that I wrote, fell absolutely in love with, then had to set aside for two years while I found a pianist brave enough to attempt to play it. I describe it to friends as “stupid hard”—not because it’s incredibly lush and full of chromaticism and all the things we typically call difficult in the piano world, but because the piece consists of intricate rhythms involving every A on the piano and no other notes. Flatline takes you on a polyrhythmic journey through a minefield of octave jumps and sixteenth notes that eventually reaches an epic showdown between the high and low registers of the keyboard.
This recording of Flatline features Jeremiah Sweeney, pianist: