Music for Piano(s) 1951-1995
David Arden, piano
Un disque qui s'impose. Rating: 10
This recording traverses the last forty-five years of Earle Brown's creative work, chronologically encompassing this twelve-tone "Three Pieces" and "Perspectives", his revolutionary "Folio" pieces, "25 Pages" (music's first truly open-form work), the multi-timbral "Four Systems" and "Corroboree", and the world premiere of his "Summer Suite '95", written especially for David Arden.
These were recording sessions we would never forget. We were capturing revolutionary works, repertoire staples, never-performed works, never-recorded works and newly-written works, all brought to life at the hands of a brilliant performer. Time and again, we would be rendered breathless by the magic of what was coming over the speakers, and our sober audio booth would glow with an energy more powerful than all of us together. Before our ears, a legend was becoming sound.
The music was at the same time vigorous and lyrical, audacious and beautiful, evocative and provocative. And if this appears to be a play of opposites, it is not surprising, since the man who created the music is no different. At 70, Earle Brown remains the broad-based, vital personage he has always been, a cultured Yankee spirit with a penchant for experimentation and an occasional bit of mischief, an incurable romantic with a child-like enthusiasm for almost everything.
Here is a composer capable of both the strictest formality and the broadest liberty, a composer equally at home in serialism, aleatory forms, and triadic harmony. His creative output ranges from piano miniatures to multimedia works to big, sonorous orchestral pieces. This diversity may come as a revelation to many -- at least to those who believe that graphic works such as "December 1952" characterize Earle Brown's oeuvre. Perhaps this is to be expected, since it takes much less effort to pigeon-hole someone -- especially if they've done something revolutionary -- than it does to examine them in their entirety. The present recording hopes, in its own way, to help change this perception.
--John Yaffé, Producer
Available here: iTunes
New Albion Records, Inc.