ek praat klavier


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First ever piano solo recording. An hour of improvisation. SABC M1 Studio, Steinway Concert Grand. Recording sponsored by my late mother, Mariana le Roux. 1999.

My brother, Johan, and his wife, was present in the studio booth. His presence inspired me. I played as i used to at the time: giving performances on acoustic piano, starting with nothing, ending with silence. I refused having recordings made of my playing for some 6 years. I believed it was against the spirit of creating in the moment. I feared that listening back to them would hinder my development. The "recording" needs to take place inside, depositing whatever can stay in the subconscious, to be released in new dream-like forms with another moment of playing. Yet people wanted to have something to go back to in my physical absence. I could earn something from selling cds, on top of live performing (I only lived from a backpack at the time, my overheads were minimal). eventually recoding became an integral part of my overall creativity cycle. I left that "pure" state, along with the backpack. But still, there is something to be said for hat, something that is reflected in this recording, an almost existential thrust, demanding from the instrument to deliver a certain finality - the final word as to where the heart lies..

track nr Title description Duration
01 Ek praat klavier First ever recording (pre-HA!Man, 1998) at the M1A recording studio, SABC, Johannesburg.

Laura Kirsten: A dynamic work for solo-piano encompassing many moods. The work can be divided into 13 sections:

1. Slow, introspective start. Wordless singing of ethereal warmth. Voice undulating over simple piano chords. Whistling also adds ambience. Voice and piano climactic, but dies down.

2. (05:20) The piano displays more drama, rolling, bravura arpeggios. Returns to gentle singing evolving in indulging piano-playing. Resonant, energetic, jazzy conclusion.

3. (08:35) Peaceful piano playing that eventually moves into a more indulgent, faster-moving expression. Comparable to the music of the Russian Romanticists like Rachmaninoff, Arensky and Medtner.

4. (13:02) Peaceful mood of the start of the previous section lingers for a while, but gives way to vigorous, virtuoso interjections. Wordless singing soon follows - bizarre and playful passages accompanied by fantastic pianistic flourishes. Suddenly mood changes into sentimental arabesque-like playing a la Liszt.

5. (17:40) Frenzied toccata a la Prokofiev. Whistling joins the mad rush. Bridge: Spaced-out singing with the virtuosic piano following in energetic spirit. Change to a trance-like evocation by repetitive piano patterns against mad, spontaneous singing. Gershwin-influences apparent in the boisteous syncopations. (23:26) Bridge: Introduced by calm whistling.

6. (24:00) Simple piano chords accompanies singing. Climax emotionally-charged. Expression of delicate beauty. Music defies definition (and superfluous adjectives).

7. (30:29) Slow, expressive piano playing reminiscent of Debussian impressionism.

8. (32:27) Music-box melody evokes childlike innocence. Texture light and transparent.

9. (33:54) Fuller resonance in chords. Hymnlike simplicity. Unfolds dramatically over the entire range of the piano then runs directly into

10. (36:54) Contrapuntal study in the style of a Shostakovich fugue.

11. (39:19) Starts with slow single line melody in the piano. Followed soon by lyric whistling and singing. Spontaneous madness makes an appearance as the tempo increases. Playful jazz exhibited with such panache.

12. (45:00) Mood turns introspective and weird. Whistling borders on the insane and eerie. Ominous, brooding. Climax is imminent. But suddenly layed-back jazz pianism enters which soon evolves into broad, indulging strokes of virtuosity.

13. (50:50) Conclusion: End is close at "hand". Simple, beautiful singing and piano accompaniment with moments of dramatic declamations. The last minute of the work starts with an innocent melody in the piano and tuneless whistling. Ending with a yearning howl.