Long Piano (Peace March 11)

Christian Wolff

Thomas Schultz, piano

New World Records

When faced with a work promoting a specific political or ideological slant it can be hard to find the line between art and propaganda.  Christian Wolff’s Long Piano (Peace March 11) definitely falls into the category of a politically-inspired work but the music itself remains austere and carefully detached from its surroundings.  Composed in 2004-2005, this hour long solo piano work is built largely of sparse gestures and thin textures.  The piece is constantly beginning anew and never fully coalesces in any one place for long.  Each fragment has its own internal life and motivations.  Thomas Schultz certainly had his work cut out for him in creating a coherent and linear performance of a work that is almost anything but.  Schultz is displaying a type of virtuosity that goes beyond pounding volumes and rapid arpeggios.

Never still enough to be ambient yet not directed enough to contain a typical emotional through line, Long Piano seems set on an eternal simmer.  It still manages to make you pay attention to it and simply hear its sound.

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