Stainless Staining: The Music of Donnacha Dennehy

Q2 Music Album of the Week for July 30, 2012

Monday, July 30, 2012

The final entry of pianist Lisa Moore’s three-part EP series may be its most listenable. It's certainly its most mesmerizing. Each EP has approached the piano in a wildly different fashion, offering Moore the opportunity to display every angle of her versatile chops.

2009’s “Seven” features the jazz and gospel-tinged compositions of Bronx-based clarinetist and composer Don Byron. 2011’s “Lighting Slingers and Dead Ringers,” by composer Annie Gosfield, colors pinging prepared piano with gauzy synth distortion and digital blips.

With "Stainless Staining," Moore takes on two works by Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy that pull the pianist into uncharted waters. Equal parts texture and pulse, and built on hypnotic rhythmic repetitions, the music pendulums between active and passive listening. The title track, written specifically for Moore, pairs solo piano with a soundtrack of recorded and (sometimes) manipulated samples taken from a piano retuned so that it produces 100 overtones based on a low G# fundamental (the struck pitch). A seamless, propulsive blend of (wo)man and machine, the piece reflects Dennehy’s newfound fascination with the rhythmic pulsing of the overtone series.

The second piece on the EP is Dennehy’s 2007 work Reservoir. In the liner notes, the composer compares the piece to a Bill Morrison video in which a naked man is gradually submerged in water. The similarity was unintentional, but it’s easy to hear in the first half of the composition, which begins with high staccato piano notes that mimic incessant droplets of water. As the music progresses, the single notes become clustered double-stops as gentle, minimalist chords pool beneath. The piece becomes even more water-like in its second half with dissonances and rhythms blurring together over a depressed sustain pedal, climbing in register over fortissimo explosions of low-end clusters.

Headiness and allegory aside, the music on "Stainless Staining" constitutes an accessible and compelling EP. Packed with subtleties that become increasingly apparent with each repeated listen, it's a fitting and memorable close to a trilogy that illuminates the multidimensional virtuosity of Moore's playing.

 

Audio is no longer available.

Tags:

More in:

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.

Comments [1]

Donald Sepanek from Bayonne, NJ

Love this.

Aug. 01 2012 07:57 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Follow WQXR 

Sponsored

About Q2 Music Album of the Week

Q2 Music's Album of the Week is our weekly review of the newest and most dynamic contemporary classical releases. It focuses on musical discovery, world premiere recordings and fresh perspectives on today's classical landscape. Read our review and stream the album on-demand for one week only at www.wqxr.org/q2music/

 

Follow Q2 Music 

 

Feeds