JULIUS EASTMAN (1940-1990): Evil Nigger and Gay Guerrilla for 4 Pianos, TOMASZ SIKORSKI (1939-1988): Listening Music and Diaphony for 2 Pianos.
Catalogue Number: 07R058
Description: This release brings together two composers from opposite ends of the minimalist spectrum. Both had troubled lives, both had pronounced self-destructive tendencies that manifested as substance abuse and bizarre behavior, and both died prematurely at the age of forty-nine. Had Eastman not possessed an almost unparalleled capacity for alienating people, he might well, by now, be as much an icon of minimal music as Riley, Reich or Glass; his idiom is as individual and approachable as any of them. Evil Nigger (the gay, black composer had a penchant for, let us say, provocative titles) is as exhilarating as minimal music gets. A fragment of a minor scale and a descending modal melody repeat obsessively over rapid-fire repeated notes, with manic, obsessive energy. Gay Guerrilla builds up a succession of increasingly dense chords, and then superimposes clashing intervals and repeated notes in various registers over them in tolling subdivisions of a steady, continuous pulse. Eventually a chant-like tune emerges, aggressively hammered out against the chordal background as the piece advances threateningly and recedes in a succession of waves of accumulating and dissipating texture. Sikorski's pieces, just as obsessive, are, by complete contrast, hypnotically meditative and non-confrontational. Listening Music consists of little overlapping gestures moving in and out of phase that form a repeating pattern, awash in pedal, that gradually slows, suggesting a distant carillon of bells gradually winding down. Diaphony begins with a more focused, up front variant of the same idea, stopping and starting its sequences of gestures like a malfunctioning music box; the second half consists of broken fragments of a chiming chord. Lutoslawski Piano Duo w/Joanna Duda, Mischa Kozlowski (pianos - Eastman pieces).