Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wlodek Pawlik – Grand Piano (2009)

Włodek Pawlik - piano

Grand Piano (2009)

Polish pianist / composer Wlodek Pawlik has been one of the most prolific and multifaceted / versatile musicians on the local scene. His activity spans cross-genre projects, ranging between contemporary Classical, Jazz and music for films, all of which have been warmly received by critics and the public. His discography since the late 1980s includes over 20 albums, which is a remarkable achievement by any standard. This double CD package presents Pawlik playing two sets of solo piano music, recorded during two consecutive night recording sessions. The music is completely improvised and consists of a series of pieces, or as the artist calls them impressions, which were created on the spur of the moment. They are left unnamed and are listed as Track 1 to Track 11 on the first CD and Track 1 to Track 14 on the second, perhaps in order to avoid and unnecessary associations while listening to the music.

Solo piano albums, and double albums at that, can present an enormous challenge both to the performer and the listener. Two hours of improvised music can and often do evolve into obsessive New Age doodling, pretentious pseudo-intellectual masturbation or deadly boring elevator muzak. Pawlik skillfully and intelligently manages to avoid any of the above traps, producing a sequence of musical vistas, which sound like a soundtrack to an imaginary movie, constantly changing moods, tempi and harmonic structures, but unified and consolidated by a certain frame of mind of the artist, which he passes to the listener. This is certainly a challenging music, stimulating the listener to take part in the creative process when absorbing it into his consciousness or perhaps sub-consciousness. Perhaps not suitable for everybody, this music can serve as a great source musical pleasure to the apt listener. It is also deeply European in character, with distant echoes of Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Debussy and others at least in spiritum. The obvious Keith Jarrett association also comes to mind, although Pawlik's approach to on the spot composition / improvisation is much more introvert and relaxed than Jarrett's. Solo piano lovers will find this album a chest a treasures, as all serious music connoisseurs. This is a treat!

By Adam Baruch

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