Kate Kellaway writes in the Guardian on the latest performance of Philip Glass’s 20 solo piano Etudes.
I was proud to be a part of the premiere of the last three of these, back in February. Memories!
My second solo album The Good, the Bad and the Awkward will be hitting the record store shelves and iTunes on May 18.
Nitty gritty nitty gritty nitty gritty… *grumble*
Actually, I lie. Organising the little details of an album recording are quite fun, oddly compelling even.
I have four days in the studio to record every track. I have three distinct piano sound worlds that we need to create (in this order); a classical sound, a pop-minimalist sound, and a bona fide pop piano sound. Add onto that the tracks for Toy Piano, Harpsichord, Melodica and Recorder with vocals and voiceovers and I’ve set myself quite a task!
AND since I wrote down my draft recording session plan, I’ve realised that the microphones will start far away from the strings on the first day and come closer and closer as the days go by. All shutting up like a telescope in a very Alice-in-Wonderland way.
I like it :D
17-18 December 2011
Mad Rush: Solo Piano Music of Philip Glass
Sally Whitwell, piano
Sydney pianist Sally Whitwell presents a recital of piano music by minimalist composer Philip Glass for her debut album with ABC Classics.
As one may expect, Glass’s piano music is full of repetitive note patterns and rhythmic groupings that can create soothing, almost hypnotic effects. This type of minimalist writing is well suited to the piano, exploiting its percussive qualities, wide dynamic range and bell-like tones while allowing a layering of the texture to create shifting sonorities.
Glass has a persuasive advocate in Whitwell. Her playing is excellent throughout this disc, going beyond mere notational accuracy to breathe life and shape into the music. Given the highly repetitive nature of the writing, and the similarities between many of the tracks, Whitwell’s rather personal interpretations bring expressive character and musical contrast to the works.
The title track, Mad Rush, was written as entrance music for the Dalai Lama on his 1979 new York visit. The writing alternates between gentler patterns and more frenetic episodes, yet Whitwell subverts the mechanical aspect of the music and shapes the repeating cells into phrases that seem to breathe with a natural ebb and flow. Her playing is intense, highly charged and technically assured. Other works include an arrangements from Glass’s Academy Award-nominated soundtrack to The Hours, the brilliantly played Wichita Vortex Sutra and the five Metamorphosis pieces.
Read the rest of the article here