Each new musical work angles itself toward a form of precision; perhaps more directly, a precision of feeling and substance. Within such a discovery emerges a willful and careful choice of both the instrumental colorations, and the musical and stylistic expression necessary to fully speak what you want spoken. ‘Quiet Stone’ seems for me (as resident composer) to be a CD that is perhaps, a little less overtly ‘classical’ in tone than my other three NEOS CDs, stressing shorter, less developed compositions; works apt to inculcate improvised passages and more spontaneous gestures.
Throughout my years as a composer, I have been touched by a broad spectrum of musical colors, styles and singularities, which knowingly or even unknowingly emerge as both the texture and fabric of new works. Perhaps ‘Quiet Stone’ reflects such influences.
The first piece, Winter’s Passage, is a pictorial representation of a day, winter, that despite its cold wind, touched me with a kind of warmth and wonder. It features Andreas Kühnrich’s haunting cello; a wind swept voice telling its own story.
La Musique des Troubadoursaligns a past with a present, a 12th century poem of Guiraut Riquier, its sentiments (powerful in scope), and a form of expression exploiting sparse, thin textural support to Isabel Pfefferkorn’s ancient inspired vocals.
The Three Miniatures are dated from 11 September 2001. Explanations needn’t be rendered. The rest is, sadly, history.
Standard Twists takes a somewhat unorthodox approach to three American standards by applying a totally different melodic contour and shape to these lovely lyrics. I discovered that providing different melodic choices only served to heighten the lyrics intensity and specificity because they were no longer attached to the tunes, so many of us had become accustomed to listening too.
Anders Miolin’s 13-string guitar lends its unique tonal character and sonic poignancy to Eyes Light. Originally a piano work, Anders has re-imagined it for his instrument with a delicate and wistful effect.
The Japanese Suite finds its inspiration from a trip to Japan three years ago that my wife, Jeannine and I took. I sought here a range of colors in these four works from the delicate to the frenetic; from the spatial to the complex; with improvisations as integral structural component.
Prelude # 17, the last piece in my Piano Preludes, expresses a jazzy, urgent and energetic framework within its brief time span. Being the last piece of the set seemed to drive its completion towards the final ending in a most breathless and emphatic manner.
J’s Way portrays my wife Jeannine in whatever muse she presented to me on the day of its composing. Her inspiration has been eternal, and I continue to seek out different sonic combinations and frameworks to express and capture both my love and my fascination with her enduring presence in our life together.
Persona is an homage to the great Swedish film director, Ingmar Bergman and his film of the same name. An intensely personal study of the human psyche, the film, as well as my music, reflects upon human silence (Elizabeth, an actress who one night stops speaking in the middle of the performance, and has been silent ever since) and brings to the piece its space and the very unresolved character inherent in the musical interplay between the guitar and the piano.
50 MM is a birthday present for my friend, Matthias Mueller on the occasion of his 50th. Free, loose, spontaneous and interactive … different in intensity and character than the other works on the CD, yet it reflects upon the ways in which a work of music moves both inside and outside itself as it finds its way back to where it began, or perhaps to where it had never even started.