KASP 57731—Music by Louis Pelosi
$ 12 plus shipping (CD)
The American Record Guide wrote that this recording has:
" ... remarkable moments of sensitivity and allure ... Pelosi has poured considerable feeling into the music."
And Fanfare Magazine wrote:
"The First Prelude immediately sets out Pelosi's credentials as a multifaceted composer. There are tonal references, but they are rather suspended. The 'D' Prelude is very active, for example, and sounds somewhat like a take on the D Major Prelude from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier; but it also sounds like Hindemith ... The piano recording is top notch ... And in Mateusz Borowiak he has a clear advocate."
Tim Page wrote in the New York Times of Louis Pelosi's music:
"Mr. Pelosi specializes in contrasts that are unified and carefully argued. He has devised an ingenious method of making his work accessible on first hearing: he peppers the music, which is generally abstract and chromatic, with an occasional passage of consonance....."
MusicWeb International wrote:
This is my first encounter with the music of the New York-based composer Louis Pelosi. I was fascinated to read in the accompanying booklet that he hasn't followed the more traditional path of composers, but made his living as a self-employed piano technician. Having shunned academia and the commercial music world and not being a performer, he has foregone grants, commissions and premieres. The result: he has had to organize and self-fund performances of his music. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and studied at the University of Notre Dame, the Hartt College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music, where he could count Charles Wuorinen as a teacher.
The Thirteen Preludes and Fugues with Epilogue date from 2000-2003. Pelosi states that the 27 pieces should be regarded as one work, though they needn't necessarily be played as such. The cycle ascends through the circle of fifths from C to C. He divides the pieces into four groups, each offering a degree of diversity and contrast. Roughly speaking, the first are expansive, the second decorative and ornamented. Group three are described as 'stark or quixotic', with the fourth 'the longest and most demonstrative'. Across the groups there's a feeling of natural flow, where the music grows, intensifies, builds to a climax and subsides. At the end of the cycle there's a Grand Fugue in C for 2, 3, 4 and 5 voices, with the Epilogue acting as a detached coda. Pelosi is at pains to stress the importance of contrapuntal music, satisfying for its intellectual stimulation and its range and breadth of expression. These pieces have been a voyage of discovery for him.
Here's something of the vast scope of mood and expression you will find. In Prelude I in C the opening chords have a Scriabinesque flavour. The G major prelude, which follows, is impressionistic, and Borowiak's brush-stroke colouring of the diaphanous writing is captivating. The first thing that sprung to mind when I heard the Fugue III in D was the fugue in G minor, BWV 885 from the Well Tempered Clavier. Fugue V in E contrasts lightly textured luminosity with dramatic darker elements. Fugue V1 in B has a virtuous simplicity. The jaunty, almost jazzy rhythms of Prelude IX in A flat are compelling, whilst Prelude XI in B flat is piquant and spicy.
Mateusz Borowiak's dazzling technique and intelligent musicianship are impressive on all counts. He has the full measure of this challenging music for which he is a persuasive advocate. I was won over by the astonishing array of colour he coaxes from his Steinway.
Beata Jankowska, the producer and recording engineer, deserves special praise. She has collected numerous awards and accolades along the way for her notable contributions to the recording industry. She here proves her worth in the sterling quality of the recording, where clarity of contrapuntal lines emerges with immaculate precision and definition, within an acoustic sympathetic to this end.
The recording is dedicated to the memory of the composer's late wife Rosemarie Koczy (1939-2007).
Program notes on this work by the composer:
THIRTEEN PRELUDES AND FUGUES, WITH EPILOGUE, FOR PIANO (2000-03)
The twenty-seven pieces that together comprise my Thirteen Preludes and Fugues, with Epilogue should be taken, if not necessarily played, as one large concert-long work. These compositions form four groups, which reveal internal similarities and balance one another, plus the epilogue. Across these divisions the music ramifies, intensifies – builds – and then subsides. The cycle ascends through the circle of fifths from C to C with, however, no major-minor delineation. Groups I (C, G, D, A) and III (A-Flat, E-Flat, B-Flat, F) are similarly longer than Groups II (E, B, F-Sharp/G-Flat, D-Flat) and IV. The first three groups share formal properties: the first preludes and fugues are generally expansive, the second decorative with preponderant ornamentation, the third stark or quixotic and the fourth the longest and most demonstrative. The grand prelude and fugue that ARE Group IV mimic these approaches within each and serve together as climax and closing of the entire cycle. The epilogue, merging the tonalities of numbers 1 and 12, makes for a final look backward – like a detached coda.
My preludes and fugues are essays of discovery for me, abetted by a conviction that the most substantial music speaks a contrapuntal language whose intellectual satisfaction is indistinguishable from its emotive power. It goes without saying that each prelude and fugue follows its own trajectory, defined in the making, tapping its cane unerringly or not to a certain goal the listener, player (and above all, I) must LISTEN for.
Even though I have with great reverence dedicated this composition to my two principal teachers – Susan Tenenbaum, piano, 1970-77, Neighborhood School of Music (New Haven, Connecticut); and Arnold Franchetti, composition, 1973-76, Hartt College of Music (West Hartford, Connecticut) – the deepest truth is that this enormous composition is largely addressed to my wife, the late Rosemarie Koczÿ (1939-2007), whether she was aware of it or not at the time. For this reason I wish to dedicate this final recording in its entirety to her memory.
Lastly, and with the greatest fervor and humility, I owe a permanent debt of gratitude to Beata Jankowska, the unfailingly meticulous recording engineer, and to Mateusz Borowiak, the exceptional pianist on this recording, who has transmitted – both technically and expressively – the utmost these pieces can hope to communicate to the listener – and, not least, to me.
KASP 57731—Music by Louis Pelosi
$ 12 plus shipping (CD)