Ice Man
for solo piano (1993)
duration: 33’
GRT • 018

YouTube (1st movement)

recordings available
Satellite Mapping
Complete works for solo piano (1989–2014)
Amir Farid
Move Records, MD3402, 2016

Greenbaum Hindson Peterson
Glenn Riddle, piano

First Light
Yvonne Lau, piano
Fellowship of Australian Composers
The Moon),

score available from
Promethean Editions

program note
Ice Man is a programmatic work in three movements. It can be further divided up into nine sections which are based on the plight of James Scott, the Australian student who was trapped in the Himalayan snow for 43 days before being rescued. When I first read about him in a newspaper article it moved me greatly and I felt that I would like to write a piece of music based on his story. After much initial trouble I eventually came to the conclusion that it was impossible for me to write a piece of music which reflected James Scott's feelings. The piece is actually about my feelings; about how I feel about the idea of being in his predicament.

In selecting 9 fragments of text from the newspaper article, I was primarily looking for the philosophical strands: the acceptance of misfortune, the wait in hope, the possibility of death and the change of expectation. I am less interested in the geographical prison, the hunger, the cold and the eventual rescue than in the attitudes which these circumstances inspire in people. In this way the piece is not only about James Scott but about courage in general. James Scott's ordeal just happened to be a particularly memorable instance of human courage.

The 9 fragments represent a psychological journey. I have set them in the order in which they happened but their durations are not in proportion to normal 'calendar' time. They say that when a person is dying their life flashes before their eyes. It seems to me that James Scott went through this process in slow motion. But there were also weeks that passed almost without incident (at least to his memory) and these extremes of 'fast' and 'slow' motion are at the core of my piece. This has not always translated into external speed of a section but in the sense of 'time passing' which they respectively convey.

available on resources page

"...Greenbaum's music; there's real poetry in it, especially in the simple delicacy of Ice Man."
Andrew Ford, 24 Hours, January 1997

“One of the recording’s major works, Ice Man, follows.  Among the more impressive and sustained products in Greenbaum’s output...over all, the  music speaks of isolation...piano writing that is, at its core, pictorial/impressionist.”
Clive O’Connell, O’Connell the Music, August, 2016

“The longest piece is the 31-minute Ice Man, based on the plight of an Australian student who was lost in the snows of the Himalayas for 43(!) days before being rescued. Parts of the story, in the words of the lost man, provide a scenario for the music. The three movements are divided into sections: ‘Lost/The Moon/Don’t leave me here’; ‘Picture of an anorexic/Dignity/The Dream’; ‘They must have seen me/Faint voices/Affinity’. The music is introspective, mostly soft and sometimes almost silent. We are surrounded by stillness, plunged into a frozen world of deep valleys and high peaks via resonant chords and spacious treble figures, while sparkling runs and filigrees evoke the exquisite delicacy of snow, or a starry night sky, or the rescue helicopter. The piece can also be enjoyed fully without the imagery of the story, the atmospheric mood varying from quietly peaceful to haunting and desolate, or to scintillating. It is an engrossing work that demands close listening. Farid gives a fine performance.”
Gwen Bennett, Music Trust E–Zine, September 2016