Thursday, June 21, 2007

Essential minimal piano collection


June 2007 is rather early to be talking of CDs of the year, but it is going to take a lot to trump the treasure I have for you today. The Minimal Piano Collection is a survey of minimalist works for the solo piano. The breadth of the survey is shown by the composers represented - Philip Glass, John Adams, Simeon ten Holt, Arvo Pärt, Erik Satie, John Borstlap, Yann Tiersen, Michael Nyman, Jeroen van Veen, Wim Mertens, Tom Johnson, Jacob ter Veldhuis, Klaas de Vries, Carlos Micháns, Terry Riley and Friedrich Nietzsche - yes, you read that last name right. The joys are too numerous to list, but include John Adams' China Gates, Arvo Pärt's Variatonen zur Gesundung von Arinuschka, and a complete In C from Terry Riley, here is the complete track listing.

The pianist for this extraordinary 9 CD survey is the Dutchman Jeroen van Veen, who also contributes his own Minimal Preludes Books 1 and 2. The record label is the Dutch independent Brilliant Classics which has featured here several times before, including their 2 CD survey of John Cage's complete music for prepared piano.

If all that isn't enough good news, I paid just £21.99 for the 9 CD box in London last week. The recordings were all made in Barbara Church, Culemborg, in the Netherlands in October 2006, and the sound is excellent. The project is a tour de force for Jeroen van Veen, as well as appearing as pianist and composer he also engineered and produced the recordings himself through his own production company.

Not only is the Minimal Piano Collection essential in any CD collection, it is also one of the bargains of the decade.

For more minimalism try a different take on Terry Riley's In C.
Image credit - Plaster Surrogates 1982/84 by Allan McCollum. In the past I have recommended buying Brilliant Classics from Amazon reseller. That recommendation is now withdrawn, my last orders with them have been plagued by problems, and the customer support is non-existent. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

1 comment:

Marc said...

Thanks for the recommendation. The Dutch sure can churn out the new-music pianists: Jeroen Van Veen's brother Maarten can be heard on the recent Naxos disc of John Adams's piano music with Ralph Van Raat. Van Raat is especially good on that disc, with Van Veen playing on the two-piano Hallelujah Junction.