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Posts tagged 'solo piano'

Contemporary Piano Video Library features Lei Liang's "Garden Eight"

Lei Liang's Garden Eight, for solo piano, has recently been featured as part of pianist Ricardo Descalzo's Contemporary Piano Video Library, a project that spotlights contemporary piano repertoire with video recorded performances and commentary. In his feature on Garden Eight, Descalzo writes, 

This is a collection of eight short pieces that are not intended to evolve from one to another. Rather, they are like different views of the same landscape. [Quoting Liang:] ”These pieces are musical gardens. To perform one of them is to walk through a garden of sounds… ”

Liang composed his Garden Eight, originally for any solo instrument, using only six pitches and six relative durations (and dedicated to a friend whom Liang had seen six times before composing the work). The work is part of Liang's larger "Garden" series (including Garden Six for saxophone sextet, and Garden Nine for singers, piano and rocks), which serves as a tribute to the Ming Dynasty Yuen Yeh (the earliest and most exquisite Chinese horticultural treatise). Liang writes that "gardens, in this discourse, are not treated as a confined enclosure, but as an extended environment. A Chinese garden is a visual world as well as a world of other senses."


(Garden Six, performed by New England Conservatory Saxophone Ensemble)

Descalzo's performance and video documentary delicately captures this essential quality in Garden Eight. Check out the film, above, and visit Descalzo's Contemporary Piano Video Library for more video performances and commentary, including a feature on Karen Tanaka's Crystalline II.

Adrian Knight's "Obsessions"

Adrian Knight's music is not afraid of dwelling. Knight composes music that stays, explores, and perhaps expands the associations that music previously had into new ways of being in the world. Not afraid of long-form, iterative compositions, Knight has composed sonic meditations for a vareity of instruments—including string quartet, piano and electronics, and the guitar-percussion duo The Living Earth Show

The pianist R. Andrew Lee was perhaps a natural fit for Knight's interest in long-form, evolving treatments of sonic space. Lee's recent commissioning project seeks to expand the repertoire for solo piano of compositions that are 45 minutes or longer—a rarity in a musical landscape dominated by short, easily digestible new pieces of music. Instead, Lee's commissions seek to dominate a concert program, or serve as the basis for single recording projects.

Knight's piece for Lee, Obsessions, has recently been released by Irritable Hedgehog recordings, and is freely available for streaming at I CARE IF YOU LISTEN. In the liner notes to the album, William Robin writes, 

“Obsessions” is at once abstract and deeply felt. The compulsive repetitions of the music sound, at times, less peaceful than indignant, irritated, regretful. As Knight remarked, “It’s probably my most personal piece, because, like life, its trajectory wasn’t predetermined. All I knew was that it would have to end.” 

Lee will perform Obsessions on March 2nd in Brooklyn at Roulette, and on March 4th in Boston at the Goethe-Institut

Marilyn Nonken Debuts Richard Carrick's "la touche sonore sous l'eau"

Debussy's solo piano works and Korean pansori singing might not be the most related styles of music. But in the hands of Richard Carrick, the melodic nuances of these two styles come into a stark symmetry, with the addition of Carrick's own signature compositional voice.

Carrick's newly commissioned work for pianist Marilyn Nonkenla touche sonore sous l'eau, is the first movement of a projected suite, and was premiered at the University of Pennsylvania on January 27th. Nonken will tour the work around the country, with performances at le poisson rouge, Tufts University, the University of Pennsylvania, and more. Carrick conceptualizes "la touche sonore" [sonorous touch] on the piano, leading to new possibilities in the dynamic of melody and harmony. The work is based on "a harmonic/melodic reduction and re-understanding of Claude Debussy's compositional lightness," specifically Debussy's Jeux

On May 19th (at Tufts University) and 23rd (at Brooklyn's Roulette), Nonken will debut a new solo work by Carrick, in memoriam of Gerard Grisey. The performances will take place alongside Gerard Grisey's Vortex Temporum, performed by Sound Icon.

Carrick's recent work for solo violin, Seongeum, translates another aspect of physicality into music. This work is inspired by pansori singing, a Korean folk style that is intertwined with storytelling and drumming. Carrick writes,

I hear the violin as a similarly expressive instrument, where the sonic nuances of bow articulations and finger techniques (glissandi, trill, etc) are the primary sources of its expressivity, with notes a distant second. Therefore, I was interested in translating Pansori vocalizations to the violin.

Carrick's work joins Ken Ueno'si screamed at the sea... as the second work on PNSY inspired by pansori. Violinist Lauren Cauley debuts Seongeum on February 18 at GK Arts Center in Brookyln, NY as part of a collaboration with choreographer Miro Magliore. 

 

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