Henry Cowell – Piano Music
Henry Cowell, a few years before his death in 1965, chose and recorded 20 of his own piano pieces, going from his first composition (1912), spreading out over 20 more years, and, more importantly, over the width, breadth, and depth of the piano itself. The pioneer in prepared piano techniques, Cowell's approach, at times, is really an attack--he strikes with elbows, climbs inside and plucks strings, uses his entire fist on the keys as a way of changing harmonic direction. Amidst this modern mayhem lands strong marching melodies and charging, bright clusters of chords. The piano, as a response, grumbles, rolls, and purrs, and even Cowell's gentle stroking of the keys can sound like thunder. His techniques were so groundbreaking and unidentifiable that even Bartok wrote to ask Cowell's permission in order to experiment with clusters himself. --Robin Edgerton
1. The Tides of Manaunaun - 2:26 2. Exultation - 1:48 3. Harp of Life - 4:18 4. Lilt of the Reel - 1:58 5. Advertisement (Third Encore to Dynamic Motion) - 1:08 6. Antimony (Fourth Encore to Dynamic Motion) - 3:02 7. Aeolian Harp and Sinister Resonance - 3:41 8. Anger Dance - 1:52 9. The Banshee - 2:31 10. Fabric - 1:22 11. What's This (First Encore to Dynamic Motion) - 0:57 12. Amiable Conversation (Second Encore to Dynamic Motion) - 0:52 13. Fairy Answer - 2:51 14. Jig - 2:10 15. Snows of Fujiyama - 2:20 16. Voice of Lir - 3:06 17. Dynamic Motion - 3:13 18. The Trumpet of Angus Og - 3:24 19. Tiger - 3:28 20. Henry Cowell's Comments - 13:18
1. AllMusic - "Blue" Gene Tyranny
At last, a re-issue of the 1963 recording of Cowell playing several of his piano works in his casual style, so that the listener regards the unusual sounds and techniques as completely natural within the context of each piece's imagery. A recording of the complete piano works is definitely needed, but this CD, with Cowell's spoken commentary at the end, is a precious thing to have at the moment.