Composers Collaborative: Solo Flights (CRI)
What an opportunity for exploration! Feast your ears on close to 75 minutes of mostly "new" piano music in wildly varying styles, with five of the 13 pieces performed by their composers. Originating from seven years of New York Solo Flights festivals, performed on different pianos in different venues, this disc highlights David Del Tredici, Robert Helps, Andrew Violette, and Jed Distler playing their works. In addition, Sara Laimon, Phillip Bush, Kathleen Supove, and Sarah Cahill join them to play works by Ursula Mamlok, Virgil Thomson, Eleanor Hovda, Laura Kaminsky, John Zorn, Molly Thompson, and Leopold Godowsky. The oldest piece is Helps' unique interpretation of Godowsky's Study on Chopin's Etudes No. 45 (an elaboration of Chopin's A-flat Nouvelle Etude); one of the newest is Del Tredici's 1996 Opposites Attract. Del Tredici's freshly composed portrait of Thomson complements Del Tredici's performance of Thomson's Solitude: A Portrait of Lou Harrison (1945) and Violette's rendition of Thomson's Edges: A Portrait of Robert Indiana (1966). Other highlights include Cahill's wonderful interpretation of Mamlok's Three Bagatelles (1987), and Distler's strumming, singing, whistling, and breathing in Hovda's beautiful Spring Music with Wind (1973). Though some pieces contain brief moments that might remind one of a child randomly thrashing a keyboard, many of these works contain great beauty that deserves a wide audience. Distler's closing The Anthem of Woodstock (1996) is sure to leave you smiling, and Jimi Hendrix grooving in his grave.