FELT, a compilation for solo piano offered by Navona Records, presents an array of techniques and themes to illustrate the piano’s dexterous capacity for limitless expression and tonal colors.
In Three Excursions for Piano, Matthew Durrant explores various angles of contemporary composition – 12-tone rows, bitonality and modality, and repetition and rhythmic propulsion. Rachel Lee Guthrie’s Winter is an impressionistic piece inspired by the sublimity of mid-western winter landscapes, depicting the imagery of northern winds blowing across the countryside and gently falling snow blanketing the chilling earth. In Prelude to the Holy Dark, Amir Zaheri illustrates the idea of welcoming a return to the time before electricity, while expressing the angst and frustration found in the act of regression. Written for the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth, in memoriam by Richard Pressley focuses on the struggle and ultimate collapse of the musical material toward an elusive goal. The two-movement work by Byron Petty, Propuntal Displays, references the standard teaching literature of J.S. Bach, displaying episodes of increasing difficulty and counterpoint techniques. Anything by Ron Nagorcka is a work refined by ear rather than theory, developing from a random application of notes in a rhythmic structure. Robert A. Baker presents two works, Nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays?, a line from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 65 which Baker considers to “appropriately reflect a near exact narrative of the musical discourse” and Valence I, whose meaning is left to the interpretation of the listener.