performs Mad Rush by Philip Glass
on a Stuart and Sons piano.
Review in allmusic by Stephen Eddins: Australian pianist Sally Whitwell’s disregard for conventionality bubbles through just about every aspect of her recording dedicated to Philip Glass’ piano music, from the pop album look of the artwork to her sassy, unpretentious program notes (“If you require the official biography, that’s what the Interwebs are for, yeah? Google me.”), her choice of instrument (a Stuart & Sons piano that’s built using design and acoustic principals fundamentally different from traditional pianos, and that has 102 keys), and her highly individual approach to the music itself. Opening, a classic Glass solo, looks deceptively simple and unambiguous on paper, but Whitwell’s surprising rhythmic emphases may make anyone familiar with the piece sit up and do a double-take, and her tempo is about 25% faster than Glass’ version. It’s an enthralling, completely convincing performance, though. Her musical revisionism may not be as extreme in the other works, but it is no less engaging. She brings acute intelligence and sensitive musicality to each of the pieces, most of which have a delicately melancholy tone. She opens the program notes with the really insightful comment, “Philip Glass’ music up close is like impressionist pixilations. Step back a little and you see magnificent, undulating, organic shapes,” and in her playing proceeds to demonstrate just how true that assessment is. It’s in the more dynamically forceful music, like in sections of Mad Rush, that the distinctiveness of the Stuart & Son’s piano is most obvious; its lower register in particular has an almost startling resonance and power. (It’s tempting to dream of which pieces from the more traditional repertoire might work well on an instrument with this added resonance. La cathédrale engloutie, perhaps?) Sally Whitwell is certainly a performer to watch for. This is an album that should be of strong interest to fans of Glass and of minimalism, as well as anyone intrigued by the concept that the piano may be an instrument still in the process of evolution.
This post is a reblog from Sally, who has an informative and amusing tumblr, (I added the review)
sillywhatwell (Sally): For sooo long I’ve been saying to myself “Gee, I wish I could upload the title track of my album to Tumblr, but it’s a huge file and *grumble grumble*”. Then of course I realised that I could do it on Soundcloud.
Of course I can *facepalm*