Solo Piano Mixtape Vol. 1

This is the first outlet of a new series I started, that aims at documenting the solo piano music I’m working on regularly. My Friend Lukasz Polowczyk from Initialslp came up with the idea of making a mixtape series, meaning that I will be releasing 15-20 minutes of music every second month starting from December on 50 cassettes and online. He is also the artistic director of the visual frame work that you are seeing. The design is itself is by Maciej Grochot.

The recordings were made by a simple set up with two mics and on whatever piano I had access to work on at whatever particular place I was staying at the time. In this sense what you are listening to are field recordings. This first mixtape was recorded in New York and in Winterthur.

1.      Advertency is an original composition of mine that I wrote in January 2017. It’s build out of two sections. A vamp that serves as an Intro and solo section that gives a lot of room for free improvisation and a very agitated, Schumann-esque, through composed, section that is originally based on the harmonics of Cole Porter’s song “From This Moment On”. On my Soundcloud you can also listen to a trio recording of this composition featuring Dominique Girod on Bass and Fabian Arends on drums.

2.      Stardust – Hoagy Carmichael This is one of my favorite tunes from the great American songbook. For this Ballad specifically, I’ve been thinking about new ways of inner voice leading and reflecting my approach to solo piano arranging. Listening to jazz solo pianists I kept wondering how much freedom they give themselves as far as the arrangement goes. How much is figured out beforehand and what sections are improvised using harmonic concepts that they have taught themselves? What is that relation? On my stay to New York in December I’ve been talking about this with Glenn Zaleski and Fred Hersch. This Song was recorded during this stay on the piano I was working on during those days. It is out of tune and not in best shape but has its own charm.

3.      Scherzo – 2nd movement from Piano Sonata op 47 in g minor (Wilhelm Kempff) Wilhelm Kempff, famous for his interpretations of works by Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann has been inspiring me for quite a while now. His musical legacy goes beyond his famous recordings. As a composer he has left us with symphonic works, chamber music and solo piano music, as a writer with two books and many essays. He survived both world wars as a German artist and was active up until his death in 1991. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about German identity and the history that we carry with us. I resonate with this man’s story and music as he helped me understand more about my north German roots.

The music was recorded while traveling in December and January, in New York and in Switzerland, therefore the LowFi recording quality.

solo piano mixtape vol. 1 by Max Petersen
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