Piano Day is an annual worldwide celebration founded by a group of like-minded people around Berlin based composer Nils Frahm. In the same tradition as it’s inaugural launch in 2015, Piano Day takes place on the 88th day of the year – this year 28th March – because of the number of keys on the instrument being celebrated. The aim of the day is to create a platform for piano related projects in order to promote the development of musical dimensions and to continue sharing the centuries-old joy of playing piano. Piano Day welcomes all kinds of piano lovers – young and old, amateur and professional, of any musical direction – to join in this years festivities.
First I should be clear that there is only one home on the web for all the official Piano Day content – playlists, special releases, lists of events, project updates, live streaming, etc. and that is http://www.pianoday.org. This travelogue post merely features some highlights with an emphasis on newly released music that we can all enjoy for many. many days to come.
One of the highlights of Piano Day is the Soundcloud playlist curated by Nils Frahm himself featuring contributions by a dazzling array of contributors most of whom composed or improvised new music for the event. You can listen HERE to the complete 140+ track set, but see below for a hand-picked baker’s dozen that I especially enjoyed:
1. Olafur Arnalds – “Study for Generative Piano (i)”
2. Federico Albanese – Early Dance (for Piano Day)
3. Olga Wojciechowska – To Feel Much More Than Now
4. Tambour – “Romance”
5. Tess Said So – “Likeness (for Piano Day 2016)”
6. Jacob Pavek – “Circulation”
7. Matthew Roth – Emergence (Piano Day 2016)
8. Michael Price – “Union (Piano Day Exclusive)”
9. Oskar Schuster – “Singur”
10. Amanda Bloom – “After Theory – An Improvisation”
11. Angus MacRae – Mirror Lake (Piano Day 2016)
12. Chilly Gonzales – “Impromptu in B Minor”
13. Tom Adams – “Feld”
Nils Frahm – Solo Remains
Frahm released an album called Solo for the inaugural Piano Day. All the tracks on the album were played on the towering M370, built David Klavins in 1987 which remains the world’s largest piano until he completes construction of the M450 which this project is helping to fund. For Piano Day 2016, Frahm released a follow-up EP called Solo Remains which contains 4 previously unreleased tracks played on the instrument. The EP is currently available for free download while Solo is available on CD and vinyl from Erased Tapes. Note that the label also offers Solo in MP3 and 24-bit with or without Solo Remains tracks included.
Download Solo Remains: http://www.nilsfrahm.com/works/solo-remains/
1631 Recordings is a new digital imprint recently launched by David Wenngren (Library Tapes) and Mattias Nilsson (Kning Disk). The label has been on a relentless pace publishing an already impressive collection of new albums, EPs, singles, compilations, and reissues. On Piano Day alone they had no less than six releases which are featured here.
Sophie Hutchings – In the Wake
This exquisite and tender piece was a pleasant surprise from Hutchings who is busily preparing her partially crowd-funded Wide Asleep for release on Preservation.
Luke Howard – Forgotten Postcards
A sublime and intimate collection of solo recordings by the very busy pianist & composer following his jazz inflected trio recording The Electric Night Descends and the upcoming full length Two Places.
Mike Lazarev – Unhinged
Mike has been a great friend and supporter of modern classical, ambient, and experimental music as the chief curator and editor of the venerated Headphone Commute and now he joins the ranks of the artists with this lovely release of his solo treated piano compositions.
Nino Keller – Farewell Waltz
Another lovely single solo piece, a resonant sonic portrait from an artist I would love to know more about (a little help 1631 Recordings?)
Matt Stewart Evans – Collected
A short, but very enjoyable compilation of elegant solo pieces from the London-based pianist, composer and producer.
Various Artists – Keys
An album that aspires to be a comprehensive collection with only nine tracks is making a bold claim, but this one lives up to it by selecting music from some of the field’s brightest luminaries such as Peter Broderick, Nils Frahm, Library Tapes, & Rafael Anton Irisarri and covering a range from the traditional to the boldly experimental.
Fabrizio Paterlini – Historiette #5
Paterlini offers his first new music since ending 2015 with his expansive concert album Live in Bratislava and what a lovely piece it is.
Iván Muela – Glow
Muela was recently featured here for his beguiling full-length debut on Fluttery Records called Unsound (read the review here). For Piano Day he released this two-track EP of thoughtful and atmospheric improvisations which can be freely downloaded.
Mini50 Records – Then Finally, A Stillness
This was quite an unexpected and welcome treat from the Edinburgh-based label – an immersive eight song collection of beautiful work from Endless Melancholy, Mikael Lind, Cameron MacNair, Digitalanalogue, William Ryan Fritch, Jacob David, Alex Kozobolis, and glacis (who also curated the album). Follow the link below to order and to learn more about each artist.