May 12, 2014
NEC piano chair Bruce Brubaker joins Ursula Oppens to record Monk's four-hand and solo piano music
NEC piano chair Bruce Brubaker and fellow new music specialist Ursula Oppens performed music by Meredith Monk in a 2012 Jordan Hall concert. Now their Jordan Hall recordings of this music have been released by the renowned ECM label. Piano Songs consists of music for solo and duo piano, and includes Brubaker's own arrangements of Monk's vocal works for two piano, four hands.
Brubaker tweeted last week, "Again, I discover/confirm that producing/editing a recording is a way to improve one's playing of the material." On the project of arranging this music, he says:
Some of these pieces started out as scores for voices or for voices and other instruments, and transporting these into another world gives us all the wonderful opportunity of hearing the music afresh.
An early review calls this release "a gateway drug" for the work of Meredith Monk. Read the review.
Describing her own music, Monk says:
directness, purity, asymmetry and, above all, transparency have always been important to me. The surface of the music is seemingly simple but the intricacy of detail and the combination of restraint and expressivity challenge the performer. Every gesture is exposed and clear.
Brubaker and Oppens first performed Monk's piano music together in concert at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall in 2005. Monk holds Carnegie Hall's 2014–2015 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair, and residency concerts will include a recital of the Piano Songs music by Brubaker and Oppens at New York club (le) poisson rouge on November 20, 2014.
Photo by Andrew Hurlbut of Bruce Brubaker and Ursula Oppens in NEC's Jordan Hall, April 2012