Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Paul Lansky: Notes to Self a notable release

Paul Lansky: Notes to Self
Real Quiet
Mihae Lee, piano
David Starobin, guitar
Mari Yoshinaga, percussion
Odense Symphony Orchestra; Justin Brown, conductor

Paul Lanksy established his reputation in the field of electronic and computer music composition. Recently, though, he's turned his attention to acoustic instruments. "Notes to Self" presents an overview of this new phase in Lansky's career.

"Arches" and "Line and Shadow" are short but engaging orchestral works. LS lyrical with rich, yet unusual harmonies Arches - builds from a simple scale. While somewhat austere, it achieve a  elegant beauty all its own as the work unfolds.

"Partita" was written for guitarist David Starobin, and is performed by him here. The work is for guitar and percussion. Each movement features a different set of percussion instruments, dramatically changing the sound of the ensemble and the emotional weight. There's a hint of jazz that runs through this work that I find quite appealing.

The title track, "Notes to Self" is a four-movement work for solo piano that pays tribute to several composers Lansky was inspired by -- including Babbitt, Bartok, Perle, Hindemith, and Messiaen. The work is performed by Mihae Lee, to whom the work was dedicated.

"Horizons" for piano, cello, and percussion is an interesting chamber work. It's an unusual combination of instruments, and Lansky effectively exploits the possibilities. Lansky is never at a loss for melodic ideas, and that, plus the ever-changing instrumental combinations make for a thoroughly rewarding listening experience.

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