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    Larry Polansky – Lonesome Road

    This CD is full to the brim with a continent-sized ball of piano music of maze-like complexity written in 1989 by experimental composer Larry Polansky. Very difficult to play but lovely to hear, the piece is often far more melodic and song-like than Larry’s experimental output—which typically veers toward the austere and conceptual. “Wait a minute (ptuey!)—hadduh spit out muh chewin’ ‘baccer. Heh-heh. Muh great granny Maw Kettle wuz jess mutterin’ tuh me sumthin’ about this here Puhlanskuh feller offerin’ up a set of variations on the harmonization of the folk song ‘Lonesome Road’ by thuh great ‘mericuhn wimmin’ composer Ruth Crawford (1901-1953). Now I might not know so much about that, so y’all will have tuh listen up here to wut muh good buddy and fellow music ‘pree-shee-ater Kyle Gann gots to say.”—Festus McRib “This [is a] great amalgam of Ivesian pianism, gamelan patterns, jazz-tinged harmonies and folk song. Its size and grandeur hark back to a pianistic outsider tradition of sui generis works, the cloud-hidden mountain peaks of the piano repertoire.”—Kyle Gann

    At well over an hour long (it even had to be trimmed down to fit on one CD), the seemingly endless variations of this tune can easily accompany any evening-long, shawl-wearin’, sofa-in-front-of-the-fireplace-sittin’-with-a-hot-cup-of-cocoa session you might ever be able to muster. The massive piece is loaded down with a whole ocean full of ear-bound coral, a vast plain packed with dense patches of briar, unexpectedly inverting on a dime—from jaunty romps to floating lyricism to dense atonality—all connected together in joyfully unpredictable ways. Once again, Larry Polansky blows the minds of folks all around his block. The whole shebang comes packaged with the usual eloquent and authoritative liner notes by Kyle Gann, which places Lonesome Road in the context of music history and tells the whole story in fascinating detail. Be sure to check out vague predecessors to this piece, such as: Charles Ives’ Sonata No. 2 For Piano,“Concord Mass., 1840-1980” CD on New World Records (80378-2); and Frederic Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated CD on New Albion (NALB 63).

    Label: New World Records Catalog Number: 80566-2‏ Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 51 Total Time: Unknown Country: United States Released: 2001 More: Dartmouth, Forced Exposure, Frog Peak, Wikipedia

    Text ©2003 Arcane Candy

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