Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Paul Lansky: Textures and Threads

This release presents two fairly recent and near-related Paul Lansky works: "Textures," (2012-13) for two pianists and two percussionists, and "Threads," (2005) for four percussionists.

"Textures" examines the shifting role of the piano. It's a melodic instrument, but it it's also a percussion instrument, produces sound by strking hammers against strings. Contrast that with more traditional percussion instruments (like drums), which can also be melodic instruments of indefinite pitch.

In "Textures," Lansky shifts the viewpoint back and forth. Sometimes he has the pianos hammer percussively while the percussion instruments weave delicate melodies, sometimes the reverse. Sometimes he has both act like indefinite pitched instruments, sometimes all play melodically. Lansky's changing viewpoints keep the listener engaged (or at least this listener).

"Threads," is just for percussion, but it's a battery of instruments the four players perform on. Again, Lansky plays with various combinations, contrasting wood and metal, definite and indefinite pitch, sticks and woolen mallets creating a compelling work that's rightly become a favorite among percussion ensembles.

Well-crafted works by an American master.

Paul Lansky: Textures and Threads
Time Travellers
Bridge Records

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