Friday, January 21, 2005

Tuned and Detuned Pianos

Marilyn Crispell/Georg Graewe: Piano Duets (for Tuned and Detuned Pianos) Posted by Hello

Today I put on the second disc of the Piano Duets to hear two of my great music passions collide: alternative intonation and free improvisation (especially as practiced by Marilyn Crispell). This disc hangs a fantastic aural painting in the air. Time becomes a canvas to be filled in with the density and controlled explosive expressiveness of a Jackson Pollock creation. These creative improvisers dribble sonic paint lines and aggressively splash thick layers of gestalt separated by barely controlled and unpredictable variations in texture density. Material exploring the high registers of the instruments would often steer a controlled line cascading toward rich bursts of harmonic color. The range of color was rendered more vividly through the "diagonal tuning" of the instruments as startling shades of dissonance and consonance applied a rich smear to the familiar timbre of two pianos.

The resulting sound is tantalizing. It leaves me longing to hear creative improvisers of this caliber exploring other tuning systems. It is, after all, only a single work hinting at ideas that could fill museums and galleries.

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