Friday, October 28, 2011

I've been swamped with work and worry again, but I'd be remiss in my self-promoting duties if I didn't mention tomorrow's big event: the release on the Alba label of my first "solo" CD. The music in question is my hour-long cycle of piano pieces, Leaves of Grass, played by Risto-Matti Marin, a great pianist, and my great friend.

The release concert itself is being sponsored by the Espoo International Piano Festival. The highlight of the concert will be readings of the poetry that inspired the music by the renowned Finnish actor Hannu-Pekka Björkman. This will be the first time most of the twelve-odd poems will be heard in Finnish, and the translations were commissioned by the festival as a set from composer and translator Jaakko Mäntyjärvi. Between the three of us, we evolved a structure to the performance that turned out to be powerful and quite moving. I'm really excited about this, as you can tell. The CD will be on sale, in both hard copy and download form, in the coming days. Watch this space!


Carme Miró said...

Hello Mr Wittall
I send your CD review in Sonograma Magazine Supplement:

Best wishes,
Carme Miró

Jorma Koskinen said...

I will write about your viola concerto as well, but first things first. R-M Marin played Book II in a concert here in Kotka last week and again I was reminded of how much this music means to me. I now have this record. I am somewhat at a loss for words but as they are all I have, words will have to do.

I feel as if after having known each other for two centuries and having together listened to all kinds of music from 1850 to 2000 you would have wanted to give a special gift to me. Knowing exactly what I need you composed this as a tailor-made piece to lift my spirits.

If I were rich or influential I would like to commission a Symphonic Fantasy based on 6. On the beach at night, 8. Thou orb aloft full-dazzling and 11. Song of the universal for a large orchestra, organ and a choir. I don't think of the choir as singing the poems, more as adding to the texture, vocalising as it were. I hear the human voice in the music.

Leaves of Grass is now on my MP3 player as well where space is at a premium. The only other piano music on it is of Chopin and Liszt. (Ok, I have the Rachmaninov preludes, but don't tell anyone, please.)

So, once again. Thank you, so much

marklaskowski said...

Please tell me how I can purchase the CD (or better yet purchase the MP3 files ... on iTunes, hopefully) for Leaves of Grass. Beautiful. It arrested me when I heard it on my local public radio station, WFCR, New England Public Radio...

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