Upsparkles was commissioned by the San Antonio International Piano Competition, to be performed by contestants in the 2012 series.
The title of the piece comes from the culture of Occupy Wall Street. While witnessing a General Assembly in Zucotti Park in early October, 2011, I was charmed at the sight of a particular hand signal used by the participants to indicate approval. As Eve Ensler reports in the Huffington Post (October 10, 2011): “There are certain hand signals that are used in the group to signify response. My favorite is the signal for agreement, or something you like a lot. People lift their hands and wiggle their fingers. This has come to be called Upsparkles.”
I applied this finger-wiggling motion to the piano keyboard. The physical gesture naturally results in the rapid four-note motive (ascending for the left hand, descending for the right hand) which yields most of the musical material in this brief, energetic etude.
– Paul Moravec
This Youtube video shows the gesture.