Saturday, January 20, 2018

Pianohooligan – 24 Preludes & Improvisations (2017)

Pianohooligan

Piotr Orzechowski - piano

24 Preludes & Improvisations

DECCA 028948164011






By Adam Baruch

This is a monumental solo piano album (2 CDs) by the Polish pianist/composer Piotr Orzechowski (a.k.a. Pianohooligan), which presents twenty four preludes composed by him, each of them followed by an improvisation connected to the prelude; altogether forty eight short pieces of music, sequenced in the order of the chromatic scale from C major to B minor. This is Orzechowski's fourth album for the Classical Decca label, which consistently and faithfully supports his career.

The music beautifully portrays the two faces of Orzechowski's musical personality, rooted on one side in Classical Music ranging between Johann Sebastian Bach and Krzysztof Penderecki and on the opposite side in Jazz and Improvisation. Although perfectly capable to stand on its own, this music is much better understood when seen (or rather heard) in the full scope of Orzechowski's recordings, as presented on the abovementioned Decca albums.

But even for a person completely unaware of Orzechowski's background and recording legacy, it should be immediately apparent that this is a great Artist at work, both as a composer and as a performer. The scope of his imagination, intelligence, musical depth and aesthetic perfection is evident in every one of these forty eight miniatures. Listening to this music is a deep, almost spiritual experience, which should leave no music lover indifferent.

In spite of the seemingly serious and complex exterior of this music it is wondrously accessible to every open-minded listener, way beyond hard core Classical or Jazz listeners. The beauty of this music wins the listener over almost immediately and the fact that these pieces are short and diverse completely excludes any chance of boredom or tiredness. Personally I found this music so fascinating that the entire double album seemed to last but a few short moments to me.

This music is immensely multilayered. It can be experiences on its exterior layer, but it can also be probed into the inner layers, which reveal intricate complexities in both the composed preludes and the improvised pieces. As such this music should require repeated listening sessions to be explored in depth. Overall this is a masterpiece of contemporary Polish music, which proudly represents the incredibly high level of musical creativity and talent, which many young Polish composers and musicians are blessed with. For people unfamiliar with the treasures of Polish Music, this album could be a wonderful window into what is happening in Poland today. Brilliant stuff!

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