Everything at Stake
Truth, multiplicity and the piano in the works of Alvin Curran and Reinier van Houdt
By Tobias Fischer
The piano has always been at the core of Alvin Curran's oeuvre. Granted, you'd expect a statement like that from the liner notes to a collection of his piano pieces. In this case, however, he's said so himself, in a candid interview with sound artist Andrew Liles: "It’s the focal point and kind of a totem for all my work in music." Certainly, thanks in part to a cycle like "Inner Cities", which spans twenty years of his career, it has become a sort of constant in a catalogue with very few constants, the perfect tool for a composer who likes to think beyond tools. Still, the bond between Curran and the piano has always been one of attraction and repulsion....
“With Julius, he was based in repetition, but here was a spirit of openness and improvisation. His scores, if they were written out that way, were often like jazz scores. He loved multiplying instruments – four pianos, ten cellos – so there was a real feeling of the presence of the instrument, not just using an instrument in some kind of equation, as a means to an end.” ~ Mary Jane Leach
Enough said. pt
staggering craft. intuitive, it breathes, the clarinet winding through sparks of percussive snaps, claps, tings, gourd rattles, teasing at momentum. beguiling organ, throbbing and throaty, joins baars mesmerizing voice. her exhalations are breathtaking. monsere, like in a dream, recounts in a precise monotone calm. horns bleat. gulls bark. field recordings, hiss and feedback dangerously loom at the fringe. a most intimate of rituals, musicians of extraordinary talent weaving aural bliss. jgladden