GUSTAVO DÍAZ-JEREZ (b.1970): Metaludios, Books IV & V for Piano.
Catalogue Number: 09X057
Description: Books IV and V of this series (the first three are on 02U057) continue the composer’s restless search for innovative ways to expand the technical and - importantly - the expressive capabilities of the piano, by writing what amounts to a large set of concert studies exploring timbres, textures, and techniques seldom, if ever, encountered before. Good, old-fashioned pianistic virtuosity is the linchpin of his style, to which is added a huge array of "extended" playing techniques, from plucked strings and glissandi inside the piano to drumming effects, preparation of the instrument, and various electronic enhancements (more than in the previous volumes). Multiple scientific disciplines serve as generators of musical raw material: biology (L-system, Mice music), psychoacoustics (Eigengrau), astronomy (Boötes void, Cassini’s dream), artificial intelligence and machine learning (Hidden states), as well as pure mathematics (Belphegor’s prime). All the techniques, mathematical transformations and methodologies employed are explained in detail in the helpful booklet notes, and make fascinating reading for those inclined to such things. As in the previous three books, Díaz-Jerez also evokes mythological figures (Melussyne, Stribog), and pays tribute to earlier music (Omaggio a Carlo Gesualdo, La spiral del viento, Pavana triste). With such a wide range of extramusical referents, it is unsurprising that the pieces are all very different; what is remarkable is how approachable they are, far more so than aggressively atonal - not that these pieces are ever straightforwardly tonal, though generous tonal harmony is here in abundance - or serial works tend to be. Energy and thrills are abundant, as are otherworldly sonorities, but there are slow pieces; the chords derived from Gesualdo intoned over a cavernous pedal bass is as atmospheric and monumental as you could wish. Intriguing, genuinely original, and compelling. Gustavo Díaz-Jerez (piano).