New Music For Bowed Piano by Stephen Scott
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Listening to just the first minute of Stephen Scott's "Rainbows, I" (the album's first track) will shatter your notion of what piano music should sound like. With a heavy nod to the minimalism of Steve Reich, Scott and his group of students from Colorado College created one of the most memorable and original compositions of bowed piano strings ever recorded. Here, the white and black keys are overshadowed by a handful of musicians crawling over the open-topped instrument, armed with Popsicle sticks glued with horsehair (the perfect bow for reaching into a grand's tight corners). The drones created by the ensemble's bowing sound anything but acoustic, but there's some gorgeous music here, with subtle melodies surfacing above the repetitious fold. Scott's compositions sound both inventive and simple--ominous on "Music One for Bowed Strings," but absolutely pulsating on "Rainbows, II." Good vibrations, indeed. --Jason Verlinde