Mezzo Piano

Piano.

That word has certain connotations, different for everyone in everyone’s lives.  For me, the most major was straggling behind my best friend’s obvious talent (or obedience?) while attending lessons at a condominium in small town Maine with a teacher whose exuding odor which, come to find out years later, is actually the smell of moth balls and denture glue.  You have opportunities to smell moth balls, …and you have opportunities to smell denture glue… but it was only once I was smelling both together, years later, and able to ask what the smell was that I figured out.  P.S. it’s horrible.  Dentures are totally necessary (oh Gosh, are they necessary!) but moth balls aren’t and I have a hunch cedar flakes and denture glue won’t smell nearly as terrible.  Wait, what?  Oh yeah, piano.

An instrument classified as percussive and stringed.  “Quiet” in music reading jargon.  Mezzo piano:  very* quiet.  Artsy musician types when you get to high school whose fingers are long and lanky, bones stretched to play arpeggios.  Probably one of my favorite instruments… although ‘favorite’ usually directly correlates to whatever is nearest to make a bunch of noise on.  So today, while perusing the ol’ Bandcamp, I decided to do a little sampling of pianists from near and far, and give you a run down of what my not-so-musical (but totally opinionated) self has found.

I started off, very lucky, to find perhaps one of the best solo pianists I’ve heard in oodles of oodles of time.  But more on that later:  I prefer to do these things ‘worst’ to ‘best’ to build up your obvious excitement.

Get on the bus, Ride to nowhere...

1.  “Piano” by Sebastian Larsson

Well, this aptly titled album is just that:  piano.  Mostly – chords struck back and forth with all notes falling in 4/4 time which might be good if someone just broke your heart and you’re riding in the rain towards an unknown location.  Sometimes it gets sped up which indicates, perhaps, a dramatic inner turmoil.  Obviously you can’t totally knock what you can’t do for yourself, but compared to what you’re going to hear, it’s not really worth much listening time (or the $6.99 they want for you to purchase the album).

On an up note, technically the music is right on – it’s just missing the qualities that, I don’t know, dynamic melodies provide.  I think this would sound really great with other instruments, a little syncopation, ok so basically not what it is at all.

Cool Cover Art!

2.  “Aqui” by Tatiana Parra & Andrès Beeuwsaert

I picked this one to listen to next, because I was so depressed after listening to “Piano” that the bright red and green telephone kiosks in this cover photo caught my attention and made me happy.  Then I got to the website and there was a picture of two grown adults playing ‘telephone’ with cans, so I’m like “Yeah!  This will be awesome!”  So you click on the first track and the music starts to go and you’re like “Ok, it does sound a little like a Phil Collins song… but I love Phil Collins, so whatevs.”  However.  Then about 16 measures in this lady starts singing all the notes that the otherwise awesome piano is playing.  Hello!  Someone get the mic away from that lady – didn’t anyone get the memo that screeching along to piano parts went out of style after Thelonious Monk did such a good job at it?  Good thing later on in the album she starts singing actual words, and even better it’s in Portugese, and even better — it’s not the same. exact. notes. that the piano is playing.  This album is a little sentimental, on the whole, but maybe I would listen to it again just because I love Brazil.

OK OK OK!  Here’s the good one!  I’ve hope you’ve stuck it out this long because it’s totally worth it.

So Good For Most Occasions!

3.  “PIANOSCOPE” by Alexandra Streliski

Maybe I was spoiled because this was the first solo pianist album I found on Bandcamp, and it’s awesome.  Alexandra Streliski is dynamic, challenging, surprising, hmm — and she’s from Montréal and that is awesome, too.  I’m not even going to say anything else about it, just click on the thing and listen.

This totally unrelated blog entry was brought to you by:  procrastination in the highest degree.  The attic remains messy another night.

*My good friend, Derek Lobley, of Metal Feathers fame has corrected me.  I kinda had a hunch that ‘mezzo‘ had Latin origins that didn’t sound like the other romance languages I know.  “Mezzo” means moderately… now I remember:  pianissimo means ‘very quiet.’  Also, you should go see Metal Feathers on a boat (with other great bands) on Sunday because what better thing is there than Casco Bay and rock n’ roll in the summertime?

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