Magazine article Gramophone

Monk: 'Piano Songs'

Magazine article Gramophone

Monk: 'Piano Songs'

Article excerpt

Monk

'Piano Songs'

Obsolete Objects. Ellis Island. Folkdance. urban march (shadow). Tower. Paris. Railroad (Travel Song). Parlour Games. St Petersburg Waltz. Window in 7's. totentanz. Phantom Waltz

Ursula Oppens, Bruce Brubaker pfs ECM New Series [F] 481 071-2 (47' * DDD)

Meredith Monk's music for both solo piano and piano duo is rooted in her unique singing style, which encompasses a wide and expressively varied range of non-verbal vocal sounds. Beneath the seeming 'minimalist' simplicity of her forms lies a wealth of detail, nuance and gesture. The opening selection on this composer-produced disc, Obsolete Objects, features quick, rapid flurries in one piano and, in the other piano, ostinatos that play against syncopated bass notes. Ellis Island is more harmonically static, enhanced by telling shifts in register and texture. The more propulsive and invigorating Folkdance incorporates handclaps and shouts of 'hey', while the processional-like chords in urban march (shadow) evoke the plain-spoken yet tangy sound world of Bartok's later Mikrokosmos. …

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