WALTER ZIMMERMANN (b.1949): The Missing Nail at the River for Piano and Toy Piano, MICHAEL FINNISSY (b.1946): Song of Myself, JAMES TENNEY (1934-2006): Essay (after a sonata) for Inside Piano, SIDNEY CORBETT (b.1960): The Celestial Potato Fields, OLIVER SCHNELLER (b.1966): "And tomorrow..." for Piano and Electronics, CHARLES IVES (1874-1954): Some Southpaw Pitching, Set of Five Take-Offs, Moderato and Largo from Four Transcriptions from "Emerson", The Anti-Abolitionist Riots, London Bridge is Fallen Down!.
Catalogue Number: 09L116
Description: This project was conceived as a tribute to Ives for the 50th anniversary of his death (2004). A number of composers were approached to write, in music, a reflection on their thoughts about Ives, and a selection of the results are presented here (apparently, and unfortunately, excluding contributions from George Flynn and Frederic Rzewski, which one hopes will see the light of day at some point). Ives himself is represented by some of his shorter pieces, which encapsulate his ability to express something universal through his bold and unafraid presentation of the earthiest material. Interestingly, three of the composers here felt the need to emulate Ives' expansiveness and all-inclusiveness of resource by adding to the piano - a toy piano, in Zimmermann's case; by playing directly on the strings in Tenney's, and through the use of electronics in Schneller's. Finnissy's piece, which refers to the barbaric yawp of another American popular universalist, Whitman, begins in riotously, rhapsodically Ivesian mold, texturally rich and varied, before moving into more simple-textured, melodic material, typical of Finnissy's more recent music, which no longer invites the new complexity' label, and finally disintegrating altogether into fragments. Tenney uses Ives' 'Emerson' material (much revisited by the composer himself) in his ethereal re-creation, gently building up the theme in harp-like sonority. Corbett's piece begins and ends in Transcendentalist meditation, crystalline chords expressing eternal concerns, while an earthier central section quotes from Ives' own music. Schneller uses electronically transformed piano sounds to produce a quarter-tone tuned super-piano, enthusiastically exploring the potential of this expanded medium in a manner that Ives might well have enjoyed. [On this copy at least the Finnissy and Corbett are listed in each other's positions on the traycard and in the notes]. Heather O'Donnell (piano).