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Works for Bowed Piano Ensemble
Just for fun, put this record on and ask your friends to tell you what instrument is making the sounds. Assure them that it's an instrument they're quite familiar with. Unless they already know what a bowed piano sounds like, they're sure to be mystified. Scott's pieces betray a Steve Reich influence; the harmonies are rich, relatively consonant, and unexpected, and repetitive passages with a steady eighth-note pulse alternate with long sustained chords.
--Keyboard, May 1984
The Recording reconsidered upon its reissue--
It is generally agreed among artists that their productions, once disseminated through reproductions, take on a life of their own, as though they were adult people who had once been their artist's children. It's not that these compositions have matured, but when they are heard they must stand on their own merits, even as they are perceived by those familiar with my (much more complex and large scale) recent work, as early essays in an untried medium. I hope that this reissue will convey again some of the sense of excitement and discovery we all felt on our first voyages into an uncharted sound world.
--Stephen Scott, June 1999
From the original liner notes:
I first became aware that one could bow the strings of a piano in 1976, when I heard David Burge play a composition by Curtis Curtis-Smith. This was a solo piano work, played mostly on the keyboard but utilizing also some prepared piano techniques. One striking effect was produced by drawing nylon fish line across the strings. I was captivated by the sound and began immediately (before David's performance was over as I recall) to imagine the sound of several players bowing a piano's strings simultaneously, thus producing sustained chords. Thus was born the first composition for ensemble-bowed piano, Music One for Bowed Strings, which I completed in 1977 and performed that year with the Colorado College New Music Ensemble.
It should be stressed that all of the sounds heard in the ensemble pieces are produced by the piano strings; no electronics or other sound producing devices are involved. The recordings are made "live" exactly as they are performed in concert.
--Stephen Scott,November 1983
Unlike so many who have torn the lid off the piano, Scott never forces the medium, but makes an asset out of its obligatory slow harmonic rhythm. The biggest problem with Scott's bowed piano gimmick is that it distracts you from noticing that he's a damn good tunesmith (the fact's more obvious on his album New Music for Bowed Piano on New Albion.)
--Village Voice, April 25, 1989
1. Rainbows, I 5:50
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