Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Gabriela Montero begins podcasting

There are now two Gabriella Montero podcasts available; you can also subscribe to them through Itunes (where I found them).

She says in the first that no one before her had ever made a totally improvised piano recording. Keith Jarrett might take exception to that. Perhaps she meant no classical pianist ever did this before.

Her improvisations are more crossover than classical though. Her improvised music is what I call "polyidiomatic," in that she draws on an eclectic assortment of styles. She's not an idiomatic improviser, such as Robert Levin, who can keep to a composer-specific language. Levin, though, improvises embellishments and cadenzas, not (at least in his recordings) entire pieces. This is not a criticism, just an observation. I think polyidiomatic improvisation is the way of the future, although historically "correct" improvisation has its role as well.

In her first podcast, she talks about making her Bach and Beyond album, in which the producer supplied "easy versions" of famous Bach themes on which she then improvised, and the general practice of basing an improvisation on a composed piece (or tune)--something she does in her concerts.

She speaks about feeling an emotion she's "given to portray . . . my mind works in a way that nothing happens in my mind when I improvise. It doesn't go through my head, it goes through a different place." That is a great description of what many improvisers experience.

Anyway, the podcasts are well worth a listen.

1 comment:

a mom said...

i have a son, 15, who is studying both classical and jazz piano. he is also spending a lot of time improvising not only on his jazz tunes, but also on his beethoven, bach and even on scales. he is, i think, fully unconscious of what he's doing....i mean, i think that its just an impulse he's having. i believe that the work you are doing so generously and rigorously is work that would mean a great deal to him. i am old. i need something to hold in my hand and smell and feel the weight of. can you think of some way that i can "give" him some artifact of your work that he can then use to guide him into the material so generously supplied on the computer? does that somewhat selfish request make any sense? .

from a mom