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Pianissimo

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

(photo: David Garland)

The piano, or, to use its full name, pianoforte, earned its name because it can be played both quietly (piano) and loudly (forte). Lately there seems to be a trend toward the quiet side. Maybe the trend can be traced back to Erik Satie's gentle Gymnopedies of 1888, but suddenly there are a number of young composer/pianists exploring a relaxed and alert sensibility in their music. David Garland presents an hour pianissimo pianos, featuring recent recordings by Takeo Toyama, Ólafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm, Hauschka, and Peter Broderick, as well as classic recordings by Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, Paul Bley, and others. This show first aired January 15, 2012

Comments [4]

Jon Y. from NY, NY

Another beautiful SOA! Thank you!

Aug. 27 2013 01:47 PM
Silversalty from Brooklyn

Years ago I bought a few CDs by one Jim Brickman, a pianist. He's been described as New Age. I'm not good on genre classification nor do I care much about that other than it might help lead me to other pieces that I enjoy (sadly, not that often).

But the problem with classification of any sort is that it brings about the vocal "nay" sayers. "Elevator music." "You've got no taste. This is like watered down warm milk with a bit of honey!" "Take a nap pops."

Whatever. But the insults are there and usually control the situation, if it's a shared one by more than two. Then again, isn't that like politics where volume overrides reason? Volume is strength - we're expected to believe - even when it's a cover for weakness. Oh. Sorry. Getting off track a bit.

As is often the case I'm reminded of Glenn Gould, who could play a piece faster than humanly possible and then switch to a tempo so slow that a turtle might not be able to toe tap to. As Gould played you could see that he was possessed by each note. Each morsel of sonic goodness.

Years ago, as I was watching a friend's young daughter gulp down cookies and she lamented that there weren't many left, I told her to try a different method for eating cookies. Try taking very small nibbles. Then stop and notice how the flavor still fills your mouth with all that goodness you enjoy. The sweetness. The chocolateness. The mint (her passion then). And without the gritty dryness. She tried it and agreed. There were cookies left when she was done and she didn't feel deprived.

Sometimes music can be like that.

Regarding Gymnopedie, I've commented in the past that it was a track on a Blood Sweat and Tears album from the '70s or thereabouts.

Aug. 27 2013 12:38 PM
Linda Scher from Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

Thank you...

Aug. 27 2013 09:20 AM
jean mensing from NYC

What an unexpected pleasure to come across this music this morning. It's almost like a blessing. thank you

Aug. 27 2013 08:24 AM

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