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Monday, October 24, 2016
Haskell Small, Book of Hours
"A Journey in Silence: Reflections on the Book of Hours" (2015) takes that mystery and gives us 11 movements with excruciatingly beautiful mediations, quiet in a post-impressionist, post-Satiean, post-Messianesque way that is expressively becalmed in blissful originality. As with the entire anthology Haskell plays the piano parts himself and he gives us his world undiluted, ultra-pianistic. It is profound music.
"Lullaby of War" (2007) is for piano and two narrators. Select poetic texts by Hart Crane, Walt Whitman and others punctuate and are punctuated in turn by the piano response. It is as haunting as "Silence" but understandably contrasting in mood and tone.
This all is a testament to Haskell Small's musical poignancy, his brilliant demeanor, his modern expressivity. It is an album you should live with and plumb your depths with.
I recommend it gladly and happily.