|| Philip Corner
40 Years and One
This man and his work represent the real "speculum musicae" of the past 40 years. The example of his music embodies a lifelong commitment to an integral radicalism. . . . this is a venerable tradition that Philip has written so eloquently about, and continued in his music. A tradition that stems from "Charlie" Ives through John Cage and Lou Harrison. All of these composers would ultimately admonish us to do one thing: to open our ears--and LISTEN!
Perhaps the single most striking quality of Corner’s piano music, beyond the pleasure of the music, is the crystal clarity of the concepts. Corner moves purposefully from deep musical thought via these concepts to highly pianistic compositions with a broad range of affect, much as Bach moves from his deep music via contrapuntal forms to the unfolding of his keyboard works. There is love for the piano, and in recording the works, and, in relationship to it, the choice mastering techniques for each work. There he was joyful.
When Philip plays the piano he always makes me imagine that music is a single great continuum, and that we always live in all of it. We may hear it a portion at a time, but we always live in all of it. I am moved by the ease with which he leads me from here to here to here, each different, always NOW, always familiar, always remembered, yet unexpected, like watching the change, return and passing of the seasons. In addition to making music, he shows me the reasons for making music.
Always there is the presence of touch as play upon, within, around the piano; his playing, the keyboard and frame of instrument singing, of fingers, palms, arms and body, whole...
by touch releasing, through gesture sounding, and always mind/sense being one...
The piano thereby is transformed, qualities of percussion and human voice all possible, extended and endlessly fulfilled with nuances of articulation and resonance.