The piano may not be the ideal medium for capturing the expressive possibilities of Glass' style of minimalism, but pianist Bruce Brubaker selects pieces that work well on the instrument. Part of the problem with hearing Glass on the piano is forgetting the sound of his ensemble, and the variety of colors (and volume) they have imparted to similar music. Brubaker begins his recital of works by Glass and Alvin Curran with his transcription of "Knee Play 4" from Einstein on the Beach. It is in fact a lovely piece on the piano if one can put the spectacular power and tonal range of the instrumental version out of one's mind. "Opening" from Glassworks, originally scored for piano, works beautifully on the instrument, and flows as naturally as the C major Prelude from Book I of The Well Tempered Clavier. The two pieces by Curran, Hope Street Tunnel Blues III and Inner Cities II, use a syntax similar to Glass, with a more dissonant tonal vocabulary. Hope Street Tunnel Blues III has ample kinetic energy that gives it an exhilarating momentum.
If you're looking for the roots of alternative rock or obscure college playlist fodder, look elsewhere; this is prime-time '80s pop chart glory, as seen on MTV (over and over and over). Though the songs here cover a breadth of style and genre (if not necessarily substance), there's a remarkable unity of purpose and hook-laden musical accomplishment that's sorely missed. If this collection woefully shortchanges hip-hop, it still underscores a distinctly irony-free era where style admittedly triumphed over substance, as opposed to the '90s, where style caricatured substance.
Playing a melodious synthesis of symphonic hard rock that has occcasionally been compared to Pink Floyd, Hanover Krautrockers Jane can trace their origins back to the late sixties psychedelic band Justice Of Peace. Releasing a single Save Me/War, the band featured future Jane members Peter Panka on vocals, Klaus Hess on bass and Werner Nadolny on saxophone…
This gargantuan package – a ten-LP set now compressed into a chunky six-CD box – once was derided as the ultimate ego trip, probably by many who didn't take the time to hear it all. You have to go back to Art Tatum's solo records for Norman Granz in the '50s to find another large single outpouring of solo jazz piano like this, all of it improvised on the wing before five Japanese audiences in Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, Tokyo, and Sapporo. Yet the miracle is how consistently good much of this giant box is.
This disc is a perfect demonstration of what treasures might be waiting to be rediscovered among Charles Koechlin's huge and still drastically undervalued output. Both the Piano Quintet and the Third String Quartet were begun during the first world war, and the bulk of work on them was completed soon after hostilities ended; the Quartet was first performed in 1924, but Koechlin continued to revise the Quintet for another 10 years before it received its premiere.