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Studies for Disklavier [Import]

Kyle Gann Audio CD

Price: CDN$ 14.22
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1. No. 5, Texarkana (2000)
2. No. 3, Nude Rolling Down an Escalator (1997-99)
3. No. 9, Petty Larceny (2003)
4. No. 6, Bud Ran Back Out (2001)
5. No. 7, Cosmic Boogie-Woogie (2000-2001)
6. No. 1, Despotic Waltz (1997) 2:13
7. No. 4, Folk Dance for Henry Cowell (1999)
8. No. 2, The Waiting (1997)
9. No. 8, Tango da Chiesa (2002)
10. No. 10, Unquiet Night (in memoriam Jonathan Kramer) (2004)

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! July 28 2005
By E. Ribeiro - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
For a supposedly avant-garde disc, this one's a lot of fun, though there are serious parts as well - in general the first half is fun, the second serious. The music is all for Disklavier, which is a modern-day player piano. Gann is author of a book on Conlon Nancarrow, the expat recluse who wrote tons of music for player piano, and he obviously learned a lot about the instrument from that experience. But while his music sounds like Nancarrow's in places, it is more melodic, more conventionally harmonic, more whimsical - and maybe even easier to listen to for people who find Nancarrow forbidding. The pieces are very diverse - there's a tango, a stride piano piece, a bebop piece, and a waltz, among other things, all made eccentric by having the melodies and accompaniments at different tempos. Sometimes Gann's sense of humor is remarkable, as in the piece (Petty Larceny) composed entirely of quotations from Beethoven sonatas, cleverly superimposed. The last piece, Unquiet Night, accounting for 16 out of 61 minutes, uses the sustain pedal all the way through, and is an impressionist blur of changing harmonies. There are many beautiful moments, many funny ones, and I think the disc could appeal to a lot of people not usually interested in modern music.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound, Accessible, Beautiful July 31 2005
By Noah Creshevsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
For anyone interested in experiencing new musical pleasures, there is hardly a more appealing disc than this one, featuring 10 works for Disklavier. Kyle Gann is high on a short list of America's most significant--and most significantly undervalued composers. These extraordinary pieces ought to go a long way toward confirming Gann's place as an American original and one its finest composers. Understandably, much is made of Gann's extensive musical and academic background, but what sets his music apart is his innate talent, the strength of his ear, and the breadth of his musical imagination. Gann's seamless integration of popular and classical elements, together with his sense of humor make these pieces easy to hear, even by listeners who do not often encounter new music. But just beneath a veil of levity and accessibility are deep layers of complexities that make these pieces an ongoing joy for serious listeners. It's a disc that can be heard repeatedly with pleasure. These are works of probable historical importance by one of our best composers.
3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is Modernity over? the Disklavier will tell you Jan. 20 2006
By scarecrow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
At the Alemeda Festival in the Eighties, after a concert with John Cage, a ticket holder went backstage, there was a question & answer period,"dear Mr. Cage, you know anyone can do what you do, pluck a string, tap the piano body,what makes your work so unique?. . ." Cage responded, " . . .

I do it and you don't " those that claim this is not music, nor interesting, arbitrary, boring,no high levels of craft engaged,of sophistication, uninteresting etc, should see that modernity is over,or simply we are still realizing aspects of modernity transcended in its former life, as Jameson says someplace, modernity is about fixing a time, temporality,so everyone's modernity begins at different times,for many the music of Phil Glass is the Year Zero for the history of music, anything prior is marginal in importance. I think Gann looks much deeper the trajectories within the history of music and tries to find useful interesting contexts for which to write music. For context, form and concept is really all we have.Adorno said someplace that "Form" is the true test of longevity in music, what we shape and how we think about what we shape and give form to, is all we have in the neo-liberal order; and Gann's pieces here prooves that the agenda for music creativity should simply proceed,proceeding, keeping going, has an "ethics" about it, surrounding the subject with conviction; Gann's music prooves the late Deleuze in some respects that without the aid, the comfort of the "grand narrative" all creators do now is attentuate "fragments, particles" from the lifeworld unpretenciously, and meaning relevance can be found anywhere. I think in much of the music that gets promoted many times the concept is stronger than the actual musical results,especially within the "complexity" cadre, where the music resembles an elaborate elegant dinner setting where the food never comes; but in Gann's case he is a sensitive musician always looking at the real time realization of what his music does.

Keyboard timbres,electric,clavichords, and Discklaviers re-tuned or otherwise has become a sort of a signature focus of his work. His use of farfisa organs in his Eighties music for example has a kind a cheapness to it,a particle timbre from the American lifeworld that has a fascination, like it is an integral part of the meaning of the landscape itself with "greasy-spoon diners",or secondhand gift stores,the homeless panhandlers On another level the poverty/hypocrisy of ideology in American entertainment is another fragment we live with and make music with everyday. The "real" is always simple just that unless it undergoes fetishization, and how can we live without the fetish of the object.But we have become fixed on myth in some respects the glorification of "junkspace" as Rem Koolhaas might say. Gann doesn't quite go full-tilt in that direction for his work does not relish in the commonplace, it merely suggests it;He does believe in the power still of the musical genre,its form and accessibility of the character pieces as retaining substance. The Discklavier is also an uncharted genre, Srockhausen's latter klavierstuck #15 and 16 make use of it as well, but beyond that Gann has discovered a useful space here.

I found these pieces quite with the landscape,perhaps these works are telling us that this is reality, democracy is here and now, there is no future, or if there is one well create it. Certainly the influence of Nanacarrow is prevalent here, the early music automata of the Player Piano, another quite useful invention for the American social lifeworld, it was the focus the center for family entertainment, as the sheets rolling from Tin Pan Alley, WEll, here Gann explores the landscape with his own personal blends of Southwest culture.
7 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Abysmal July 23 2005
By Daniel Unger - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I was amazed that a great label like New World Records would release such a dreadful recording. This is one of those CDs that one would have hoped would never see the light of day---no such luck. What Mr. Gann has done here is work out a few (extremely dull) musical patterns, transferred them over to a computerized keyboard and then sped them up to make them sound important. If it were interesting music it would be one thing. It is, however, terrible music.(...)

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