The Listening Room (Piano Day 2019)


 photo by Arūnas Naujokas on Unsplash

This special edition of The Listening Room features the Soundcloud selections playlist compiled from the many wonderful tracks uploaded for Piano Day 2019. You can also find recommended piano recordings released earlier this year by Hauschka, Adrian LaneBruno Sanfilippo, Julien Marchal, Bruno Bavota, Tom Blankenberg, and Lullatone as well as Piano Day releases by Mikael Lind, Akira Kosemura, Kyle McEvoy, and Garreth Broke. Finally we’ll peek ahead with previews of upcoming albums by Alex KozobolisJohannes Hirschmann, Tristan Eckerson, and Tom Adams. It is nothing less than a movable feast for piano music lovers. Happy listening!

Piano Day 2019 Soundcloud Selections Playlist

Over 60 selections from among the many tracks released specifically for Piano Day 2019.

Recent and Recommended

Hauschka – A Different Forest [Sony Classical]

As Hauschka, Volker Bertelmann has produced some of the most inventive fusions of piano with experimental techniques and electronics, but on A Different Forest he masterfully returns to a pure approach to the instrument with this beautiful collection of songs infused with respect for nature and kindly nostalgia. Now available on CD, vinyl, & digital from Sony Classical. Featured above is the dramatic official video for “Curious”

Adrian Lane – I Have Promises To Keep [Preserved Sound]

Inspired by John Cage’s prepared piano pieces, I Have Promises To Keep is a captivating outing from the self-taught musician, composer, and visual artist from Essex, UK which incorporates non-traditional ways of playing and recording the piano. Sonically adventurous, yet emotionally grounded and melodically accessible, it makes for a unique and compelling listen.  Read more about how the record was made in this interview presented by the label.

Bruno Sanfilippo – Pianette [AD21]

While Sanfilippo is capable of venturing into quite austere and abstract territory, he can just as easily be enchanting and fanciful as this latest album shows. Pianette is a collection of solo piano compositions inspired by dreams and the fantasy of mechanical toys, dolls, the circus and puppets. Besides the handsome CD edition, a limited sheet music book with download is available featuring illustrations by Larissa Kulik. Note the album also includes a special solo piano version of “ClarOscuro”, the opening track from his 2014 release of the same name.

Julien Marchal – Insight IV [Whales Records]

The French composer & pianist concludes his beloved Insight series with this fourth volume on his own recently launched Whales Records label. Expressive, beautiful, but sensitively recorded to evoke a genuine sense of intimacy between the listener and the music.

Bruno Bavota – RE_CORDIS [Temporary Residence]

Recorded live in one afternoon at a friend’s studio in Bavota’s hometown of Naples, Italy, RE_CORDIS documents many of Bavota’s most recognizable works with the resonant immediacy of an up-close performance as he presents and manipulates each piece in real time with a “a plethora of outboard effects pedals and processors” at his disposal. Such a friendly and melodic record, it might be easy to overlook the virtuosity on display.  As refreshing as a sun-baked afternoon on the Italian coast.

Tom Blankenberg – Atermus [Less Records]

A deeply personal collection of solo piano pieces by the German musician with an especially introspective low-light, nocturnal feel thanks to its abundance of subtle jazz & blues elements. If the scene in Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” came to life, this album could easily become the soundtrack. Available on CD, vinyl, and digital featuring striking cover art by Hiroshi Kawano.

Lullatone – Music For Museum Gift Shops

An utterly charming and expansive collection of tracks from the Lullatone catalog each of which was recorded in a weekly cadence over the course of last year. Now released on CD and digital.

Piano Day 2019 Releases

Mikael Lind – Inskrifter [Polar Seas Recordings]

Not to be overshadowed by his wonderful full-length Contingencies released earlier this year on Archives, is this 4-track EP by Mikael Lind which finds using a wide array of acoustic and digital pianos whose sound material has been modified through preparation, splicing, granular synthesis, reversal, and other techniques with striking results (pun somewhat intended). Now available from Polar Seas Recordings, also home to his outstanding 2018 release Strings and Clusters.

Akira Kosemura – In Moonlight [Schole Records]

Another truly lovely set from the Japanese composer in a format that he recently made very much his own. Features the title track in two parts along with two other sketches inspired by abstract and mythical feminine imagery.  Now available digitally from Schole Records.

Kyle McEvoy – Always Falling [1631 Recordings]

A tidy, but inviting little EP with three lovely piano sketches from the New York based composer, multi-instrumentalist, & producer.  Available digitally from 1631 Recordings.

Garreth Broke – Dance [1631 Recordings]

A bright and uplifting set very much in a spring frame of mind from the pianist/composer featuring cover art by Anna Salzman. Now available digitally from 1631 Recordings.

Semitone. A Piano Day 2019 Compilation [Subtempo]

Very nice collection from the San Franciso based label featuring previously unreleased tracks from seven different musicians – Memotone, The Mountain Howl, Michael Red, Philip Daniel, Cameron Brooks, Leeward and Alejandro Bento (as Axel Toben).

Previews of Upcoming Releases

Alex Kozobolis – Someplace Else [Phases Records]

Kozobolis is an outstanding photographer and film-maker whose multi-media work has brought him into contact and partnership with a broad spectrum of noteworthy artists. He may be less prolific as a musician, but that only increases the interest in his recordings when they emerge. Perhaps his most expansive yet will be Someplace Else, an 11-track opus set for release onApril 26 via Phases Records. The album is a particularly personal and autobiographical effort, even a therapeutic one as Alex originally turned to the piano as way of regulating the symptoms of his Tourette syndrome. Exquisitely recorded over a handful of sessions by Ed Hamilton (Dead Light) at his studio in the Cotswolds.

Johannes Hirschmann – Fragments

This forthcoming debut by the German pianist & composer Joahnnes Hircshmann shows there is always room for a new voice on this infinitely expressive instrument as he offers up a lovely set of composition sbuilt around improvised fragments which he recorded over the course of one & a half years in various locations. The album which was ultimately mastered by Zino Mikorey (Nils FrahmÓlafur Arnalds) and will be available on CD and digital on April 19.

Tristan Eckerson – At Home [Sonder House Records] 

“For  Natalia” is our first glimpse of  the Cincinnati-based composer’s new EP At Home due in April from Sonder House Records. The single is available now directly from Tristan’s Bandcamp along with the sheet music.

Tom Adams – Particles [Moderna Records]

A preview of the June release by Moderna Records which will showcase a series of explorations for piano & electronics by the Berlin-based composer & songwriter that was only previously available via the artist’s Soundcloud.

The Berlin based producer and songwriter originally did a small ‘soundcloud only’ self-release of the record in 2014, and we were stunned by the singular vision and voice present in each of the album’s explorations. We’re very pleased to be giving this record a worldwide release in CD format and on all digital platforms, with a new master by fellow Berliner / sound artist Martyn Heyne. – Moderna Records