Monday, April 15, 2024

Rodney Sharman, Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa, Known and Unknown, New Music for Solo Piano


Not everything can be grasped in a single setting as we all have learned over time. For New Music these days it has never been more true. It used to be at times that you more or less knew what you were getting by gazing at an album cover, the art, the label, the liners and giving it a single listen but that is rare today in some settings. So with the one for today, distinguished Canadian composer Rodney Sharman and pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa bring to us a stunning series of works based imaginatively on opera transcriptions, 18 works under the rubric Known and Unknown (Redshift TK539 CD). This is music not obvious, with true originality and unexpected brilliance.

For me this one was a natural, the combination of vivid sound color, a modern yet a distinct melodic-harmonic foundation, ambient brilliance and a sort of eloquent expressionist pianism, a kind of moody, haunting thoughtfulness and a refreshing bit of text narrative and singing by the pianist in her enchanting performative role.

The eighteen short and longer works each hold their own in ultra-musical and inventive ways. That there is a Non-binary element in the thematics is the case thought for me it all works together as a poetic, lyrical whole so that I embrace  it all as ART, which for me is what especially matters in the end.

Though the transcriptions are based on well known operas the end product stands out again as more in its finality of brilliance than as source inspiration.

This is piano music that thrives in its wonderful pianism, both in composition and  performance. It stands out is a high point of the music I have heard thus far in the current year! Do not miss it.

Listen to a full stream on Bandcamp: