(Key)Boarding School

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This week on the New Canon, we get a taste of Glenn Gould's composer side in a new record courtesy of pianist Sasha Grynyuk. On a recording that also features a work by Friedrich Gulda and an arrangement from Grynyuk himself, it's our Album of the Week.

In fact, we're hearing a lot of piano music this week. It must be something in the seasonal waters, but the piano in these new releases has a way of evoking time and place, whether abstract or concrete. We start off with Nico Muhly's Drones and Piano, which blends the constant, ambient hum of white noise with sunbeams of piano rays that cut through the clouds of drones. Take either element away from the other, however, and the effect would be diminished.

On the other end of the spectrum, David Del Tredici uses the instrument to create very specific images of New York, from morning in Greenwich Village to a downtown scene bereft of the World Trade Center, in a sort of postmillennial Rhapsody in Blue. In between these two object lessons in keyboard composition is an equally illuminating choral work by Ted Hearne, that combines anti-Apartheid songs, an interview with The Wire creator David Simon and the composer's own texts, all combining to offer a commentary on the haves and have-nots.