This is the second volume of my solo piano mixtape series and features three pieces first a free improvisation, followed by a composition by Muhal Richard Abrams, and concluded by the last movement of the g minor Sonata (op.47) by Wilhelm Kempff.
Peace On You (Muhal Richard Abrams)
Peace on You is a composition by Muhal Richard Abrams that I got of his solo piano record Afrisong (1975). I tried to bring a narrative, almost poetic quality to the improvisations. Rather than forming nice melodies I tried to create a flow of notes, like a speaking voice that makes sentences and long phrases yet is full of little rhythmic details and variations. It seems to me that Abrams has this quality on this album, especially through the rhythm, when vamping on simple harmonies but letting the rhythm speak – letting the body speak. This is what makes this music sound so natural and free flowing to me. Since it’s a solo record it shines a light on him as an improviser in a unique and personal way.
Please enjoy this piece like a meditation that helps connect with what is happening at this very moment and acknowledge this, rather than worrying about consequences.
Peace on You follows an Intro, a free improvisation in which I tried to embed the previously described qualities, in a different musical context.
“My understanding of our degrees determines many levels of creativity as seen through the eyes of respect, love, and infinite curiosit”
– Muhal Richard Abrams
Wilhelm Kempff: Sonata in g minor op.47
III. Introduzione e Toccata
This is the last Movement of Kempffs 1947 g-minor Sonata. The movement is full of hope, as it goes from a mystic Intro (Introduzione), full of difficult harmony, through a fast and demanding Toccata to finally arrive at the hymn like theme – marked as “maestoso” in the score -, that breaks through the dark clouds of harmony like a beam of sunlight. Born 1895 Kempff, fought in both World Wars (though in WW2 only as part of the “Volkssturm” in 1945). As a German intellectual he witnessed the degrading oblivion of the most basic human values. All this while playing German music that stood for up for those values. This movement to me sounds like a hymn to a better future, one that had to arise from the ashes of a destroyed, degraded and guilty nation.
Recorded February 2018 by Johannes Höcketstaller on a Steinway piano, Zurich
released March 19, 2018solo piano mixtape vol. 2 by Max Petersen