Pianist David Kaplan, who played in the première of the two-piano version of the piece, and many performances since, writes:
Timo Andres’s How can I live in your world of ideas? began life as a movement in the two piano cycle Shy and Mighty. The version for one piano becomes a kind of rhetorical showpiece, in which the individual pianist must render the rapid transition between material played by two opposing, often interruptive, pianists. Each of the two pianists (in this case imaginary) take turns representing the titular subject “I,” and the “World of Ideas,” in which it’s evidently problematic to “live.” We don’t really know which is which, though: am “I” the funky backdrop, the outbursts of passagework, or the reposeful romantic musings high up on the keyboard? While Chopin’s Polonaise-Fantasy gets a brief star turn, in the form of an extravagant trill, it is more the general idea of past music that is referenced, rather than specific works.
ListenTimo Andres: How can I live in your world of ideas?
recorded live at Firehouse 12, New Haven, December 2008
performer Timo Andres, piano