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Monday, June 8, 2015

Howard Bashaw, 15 for Piano, Form Archimage, Roger Admiral

Today we are running "on instruments!" I have no information on the music at hand save the title, artist, composer and label and that the composer no doubt hails from Canada. Part of that has to do with technical incompatibilities, the other is sheer technological serendipity. Nevertheless the music speaks volumes, and it is to the music we must turn in the end, after all.

This is a CD of piano music, very modern piano music. The composer is Howard Bashaw, the pianist is Roger Admiral, the music is entitled 15 for Piano, Form Archimage (Centredisks), two formidable multi-part suites played heroically and enthusiastically by Roger Admiral.

The music is highly dynamic, very modern, with the sort of panache one gets if one combined Scriabin in his later phase, Charles Ives at his boldest, and perhaps even a little of the aggressively soaring sense of a Cecil Taylor. There is a bit of minimalist repetition here and there, but it is not central and it is not at all typical. More repeats of brief phrasings than minimalism per se. The totality of the music combines all of this (and perhaps more) with an originality which makes it all very much the music of Howard Bashaw.

All that being said, it is music of fullness, a roar of sound at times, spelled by quieter, less extroverted introspection.

It is a marvelously contemporary expressionism we get. It is music that will not be denied, very much foreground and assuredly NOT background music. All the better, because this is piano music that makes great demands on the player in its maelstroms of sound and Roger Admiral responds with zeal and great success.

A pianistic world of tomorrow, yesterday and today, all together, this is. It is a kind of wonder and will appeal to the modernist quite aptly, I think. I certainly appreciate it. Highly recommended.

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