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Bryn Harrison Vessels

at69  Bryn Harrison - Vessels (2013)


Composition for solo piano, performed by Philip Thomas


Total Time: 76:03


Recorded at the University of Huddersfield, July 2013


Youtube extract


CD copies have sold out.  Still available as flac or mp3-320 download

Interview with Bryn Harrison


Can you tell us about your background and how you came to contemporary music?


I was born in Bolton, Lancashire, and grew up playing classical and electric guitar and listening mainly to rock music. By my late teens my interest had shifted to jazz but I was also writing and performing contemporary pieces on the classical guitar. Whilst a student a Leeds College of Music I was exposed to lots of different types of music and I tried to listen quite broadly. The classes we had on twentieth century repertoire mainly focused on European composers - Lutoslawski, Penderecki etc. I remember taking a particular interest in Messiaen whose book 'Techniques of my musical language' I still use in my own teaching today.  I was always more intrigued though by the class going on next door with Graham Hearn, where the focus was very much more on American music - Cage and Minimalism. Since 1992 I've also been a regular attendee at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and I can honestly say that most of my education in contemporary music during my twenties and early thirties came from attending that festival each year. I didn't do a great deal of composition whilst at Leeds and it was only a couple of years after graduating when I decided to study composition for a Master's degree.  At the time I was particularly interested in the British experimental music scene so it made sense to study with Gavin Bryars, who was teaching at De Montfort University in Leicester. He was very supportive and encouraging in terms of developing the direction I'd chosen to follow further.


The most obvious feature of your music – and this is particularly true of Vessels – is the use of repetition as a compositional strategy. Was this something that interested you from early on? And why does it fascinate you?


That’s a good question. I’ve always liked to work economically – just using a few simple processes or a limited palette of materials. From the mid-to-late nineties onwards I‘ve tried to find ways of exploring the same materials from different angles and perspectives - placing similar events in close proximity to one another, for instance, or organising the form of the piece into a series of discrete and closely related panels. From about 2000 the use of repetition in my music has become much more formalised through the use of pitch cycles. A cycle might suggest something that returns to its point of origin, but in this context there is no starting point. What I am constructing are chains of pitches with repeating self-similar intervals that go round and round. I can loop short events or let the process run for longer.

Vessels is an interesting piece to discuss from this perspective since it is entirely about repetition – the micro-repetition of intervals, the repetition of phrases and the repetition of sections. I took pitches from a nine-note Messiaen mode and ran them simultaneously forwards and backwards through the cycle so that the pitch intervals are constantly expanding and contracting. I got the idea from a wonderful string quartet by Howard Skempton called Tendrils where he creates these long branching lines that are constantly moving between the various transpositions of the Messiaen mode. What I like about the Skempton piece is the kaleidoscopic effect that comes out of the process. My piece works in quite different ways to Howard’s, but I tried to get across this same sense of the music being perpetually regenerative, of constantly opening up but then finding ourselves in the same space. I’m very grateful to Howard for unknowingly providing the inspiration for the work.  I also love the late works of Morton Feldman, where the repetitions become so high that we no longer know where we are. The pieces have this immersive quality through which we simply have to submit to the moment, where form is no longer something to concern ourselves with. I’m trying to take this idea one stage further in my own recent music by creating whole pieces out of only a few bars of material. The original 22 minute version of the piece seemed to lend itself quite naturally to this process of extension, and the new version, which is just over 76 minutes, seems to me to have attained an even greater level of vitality through expanding the duration of the work so considerably.

Yes, I was going to ask about Feldman. After I heard the 22-minute version of Vessels I spoke to Philip Thomas, the pianist, and made the inevitable Feldman comparison. But Philip challenged me and made an interesting point. He said that when he plays Feldman, he always feels that the music is moving somewhere; through all the repetitions and varying patterns you end up achieving some kind of resolution. But with your piece Philip says that he is almost disturbingly disoriented because the music doesn’t seem to move anywhere at all. Playing it he feels that – for all the notes - he’s still circulating around the same place where he started after 5, 15 or even 50 minutes. Philip was arguing that in that sense Vessels is more radical formally than Feldman, and I wondered what you thought?

I think Feldman’s music is pretty radical as well, but yes, I think you’ve hit on a key difference there. Feldman’s music, for me, is much more harmonically conceived and his approach to form is certainly different. In the late works in particular, there’s a sense of thinking of the music vertically or in terms of patterns which I imagine came from writing at the piano. I tend to work more linearly, thinking about weaving textures, creating counterpoint and an on-going impetus. The pitch cycles I use are created with this very much in mind so that every note leads to the next note but we never reach the end of the chain. I like the way this creates a sense of movement but without a goal. I’ve compared this before to being somewhat like a waterfall, where there is motion but without an end point.

Vessels is a particularly extreme example in this respect and I can imagine how the piece must be very disorientating to play. The music is extremely recursive so that Philip is constantly encountering material that is very similar to what has gone before but with slight changes in rhythm or register. As we get further into the piece, the performer begins to encounter very literal repeats of pages but the number of repeats of individual bars or groups of bars may be considerably different. This means that any particularities that occur within that repeated section - two notes sounding very closely together for instance or a single note in a higher register - are going to become highlighted with each consecutive repeat.  

I’ve quoted this before, but I like what the British artist Bridget Riley said, which is that repetition can act as an amplifier, highlighting things that might otherwise go by unnoticed. There is a particular point quite late in the piece where an uncharacteristically regular rhythmic passage is subjected to high levels of repetition. Philip and I were saying how very unique that moment feels. It requires an amazing amount of concentration to pull off a piece like this and Philip does a very good job indeed. You have to keep the speed constantly in check and be attentive to every slight nuance and change. Philip told me that he found Vessels harder to learn and perform than Feldman because the music never lets up. With Feldman there are moments of repose where you get a chance to re-adjust, but here it’s continuous and highly demanding for over seventy six minutes! Both Philip and I wanted to record the piece as a single take so that the piece becomes a living, breathing entity. You are in a different space as a performer or listener as you get immersed in the music and we wanted the recording to reflect that. Two versions will never be exactly the same.

It’s hard to imagine the extended version of the piece existing without Philip; his stamina and powers of concentration are extraordinary, but even more important in this case is the delicacy of his touch. Cage said that his piano pieces of the 1950’s weren’t written for piano, but for David Tudor. Did the fact that Philip was going to play the piece affect some of your compositional decisions, and do you often compose with particular performers in mind?

Yes, absolutely. I didn’t sit down to write a piece for the piano, I sat down to write a piece for Philip. It was almost intended as a gift – I didn’t have a commission at the time and told him one day that I’d started writing him a piece. I find his playing incredibly inspiring and have had the privilege to get to know it more and more since first writing for him in 2001. As you say, he has a wonderful touch and extraordinary powers of concentration but there’s also something about his dedication and loyalty to performing the repertoire of many of the composers that I also admire greatly – Cage, Feldman, Laurence Crane, Tim Parkinson, James Saunders, Richard Glover, Howard Skempton, Christopher Fox, Linda Catlin Smith, Martin Arnold, Cassandra Miller etc.  Although I have written and dedicated two other pieces to him (etre-temps and quietly rising) this piece felt particularly personal. I could almost imagine Philip performing the piece as I was writing it.

As a composer you have to have trust in the materials – an idea might stay in one place for a long time - and you have to have the faith to know that the performer will also respond equally positively and be as willing to stay in that musical place as well. I think Philip has a particular affinity to pieces that are very much about material, rather than some extra-musical idea which requires the performer to impose some kind of expressive mannerism onto the music. In this case, it is about responding sensitively to the various nuances that the work asks for and not over-playing. It requires the player to keep a constant check on the tempo and dynamic of the work whilst allowing for slight flexibilities and imbalances between one moment and the next. I would like to feel that the work becomes an act of discovery for the player during the performance just as it was for me at the time of writing. The recording captures that very well I feel – there is an element of renewal and of discovery as we move through the piece.

You said earlier that no two performances of Vessels will be the same. Is this because you leave certain decisions up to the performer, or is it through-composed? And are you generally drawn towards incorporating indeterminate or improvisational elements in your compositions, or doesn’t this interest you?

I’m going to quote Philip here, and I hope he won’t mind. I remember him saying to me in an email exchange from a couple of years ago that, for him, open-ness in art meant being open to exploration and investigation, to unrepeatability and to surprise.  I don’t work directly with indeterminate or improvisational elements at all but there is already an inbuilt ambiguity and unpredictability I feel in the very fabric of the music. I’m trying to capture some of that unrepeatability and surprise and, paradoxically, this seems to come from fixing things precisely in the score. What I hope to provide for the player is a precise situation that they can respond to intuitively in the moment. For instance, the score is relatively complex involving some intricate rhythmic articulations and would be almost impossible to learn from memory. It requires the performer to see each moment as a new encounter with something already familiar. Each moment in the piece becomes conditioned by ones response to each of the previous intricate moments, resulting in nuanced differences in interpretation. I’ve talked a lot in this interview about high levels of repetition but, of course, these repetitions are never exactly the same – there will always be slight differences. I think when you’re dealing with a piece of such long duration these differences become more pronounced. I wouldn’t want to suggest that every performance offers an entirely new interpretation but rather that the performer’s choice of interpretation takes place in an entirely new space through which they open themselves to the possibility of exploration.  Philip has talked of the element of surprise that took place during the recording of the work itself – moments that felt particularly new, quicker, slower or more difficult than remembered. The identity of the work doesn’t change but all of these subtle things contribute to the uniqueness of the recording I feel.

Just one final question. How do you envisage these ideas being carried forward into future pieces?

One of the challenges for me has been in finding continually new and creative ways of utilising these working methods. For several years I was just running with these ideas – each new piece would suggest a different way of working or of placing the same idea in a different context.  Over the years it has got harder but Vessels, if I’m being honest, has been something of a revelation in this respect. The materials seemed to emerge quite naturally from the process of working and, as a result, it was really enjoyable to write. I almost feel you can hear some of that quality in the recorded version. What it has given me is a greater freedom in extending a very singular idea over a much more sustained time scale. I really like the more modally conceived materials in Vessels also. There’s something about the surface of the work that is quite beautiful or inviting. I’m about to start working on another extended piece with visual artist Tim Head and the London Sinfonietta and can imagine some of these qualities being transferred into that work as well. There is certainly much to go on here for future projects.






Bryn Harrison

Reviews


Vessels is the final disc in the new batch of releases on the Another Timbre label, which is concentrating more and more on young minimalist composers. The final disc, and certainly the most radical. Here the composer Bryn Harrison presents a long, fluid piece for piano, played by Philip Thomas. A piece which seems to have no beginning or end, which could last for eternity, and which seems to exist completely outside of time.

In his interview on the label’s website, the British composer obviously talks about Feldman (but also Messiaen, Skempton, Cage, Richard Glover and others). ‘Obviously’ because his piece cannot but bring to mind the late works of Feldman. Starting with nine notes taken from a mode of Messiaen’s, Harrison has written a 75 minute composition based on the constant repetition of intervals, phrases and sections. It’s a very long piece with an opaque structure, which moves forwards without a break. The tempo is medium and never varies, the dynamic is also constant, and the pedalling similarly: everything depends on minute rhythmical and harmonic variations. The intervals change slightly, a rhythmic structure subtly shifts, and so on. The scale of nine tones used here appears totally abstract with regard to the piece as a whole.  But Harrison works on the tiny details, exploiting countless variations of intervals, intensity and rhythm. Harrison explores the scale concretely, in all its physicality, but in such detail, and at such length that it seems to become abstract.


But it isn’t these compositional processes that recall Feldman, it is rather the sense of wandering outside of time which brings this music close to the late works of the American composer. And here we must acknowledge the patience and perseverance of Philip Thomas, who recorded the piece in a single take, with passion and unfailing concentration, and with a sensitivity and precision which sets him apart from so many interpreters. For its entire 75 minutes Vessels never departs from its single-minded and obsessive nature. The nine notes of the scale are explored without harmonic or structural goals; you never know where you are going, nor where you have come from. There is always the feeling that Thomas is playing freely with the scale, in an almost aleatoric way, that he’s playing without thinking of anything, without aim or direction. And it is this absence of purpose which plunges this piece into a very special temporality. A temporality which seems absent; time seems to become stuck around these nine notes, whose variations seem inexhaustible, something to which you could listen for hours on end.


A sense of eternity, of dislocated temporality. And this sense draws the listener into a unique auditory experience, one that is rarely found in music: to be outside of time, or at least in another kind of temporality. Unique and very beautiful.”

Julien Héraud, Improv-Sphere


Vessels drew direct inspiration from Howard Skempton’s string quartet Tendrils, and this 76 minute version of Bryn Harrison’s solo piano composition stretches out in suitably threadlike coils. The music’s unfurling is both linear and repetitive, extending in steady cycles yet with no suggestion that an ultimate goal or culmination is being worked towards. Firm parameters constrain what musical growth or movement is possible, yet the outcome is nevertheless compelling. Philip Thomas is superbly even and consistent in his performance, which was recorded in a single unedited take.  He sustains an imposing sense of continuous development, driven from within like an organic process, while the sustain pedal casts a soft glow like sunlight encouraging plant growth. That kind of analogy seems to fit here, rather than the patterned rugs that spring to mind when listening to piano pieces by Morton Feldman that have comparable scale and dynamics.”

Julian Cowley, The Wire


“This recording represents the intersection of three of England’s most interesting forces in new music – pianist Philip Thomas, composer Bryn Harrison, and Sheffield-based label Another Timbre. Huddersfield resident Thomas has been a leading advocate for experimental music. Earlier in 2013, he brought the shorter version of Vessels on tour with him in Canada alongside other English and Canadian pieces.  Here in its full duration, Harrison’s piece is at once hypnotic and demanding of the listener. Thomas’ deft touch and keen ear bring the work’s beauty and unsettling peculiarity to life.


Vessels’ suspended, quiet relentlessness might recall Feldman’s late work, but Harrison’s piece is considerably more minimalist and quite without the stylized contours and breaths for which the older composer is known. This economy of material and flatness of perspective, however, are precisely what make Vessels so captivating, as they focus the ear toward the cryptic flow of the piece rather than the singular beauty of each moment.


Its surface is very inviting, yet once listeners enter the world of the piece, they’re confronted with an intangible, mysterious process which unfolds for the work’s full duration. It’s the inverse of, say, one of Steve Reich’s process pieces, for whatever is changing throughout the course of Vessels is not readily available, eliciting a disorienting temporal friction between apparent stasis and subtle, constant transformation.


Where the trajectories of some minimal works provide lulling stability, Vessels seems to seep in many simultaneous directions, engendering, instead, a heightened awareness of one’s own bewilderment.”

Nick Storring, Musicworks


“The last year has been a fairly rich one for new offerings of piano composition, with the appearance of Dennis Johnson’s mid-century piece “November” and Eva-Maria Houben’s “Piano Music.” Just as powerful as these, however, is Harrison’s enigmatic, absorbing Vessels. It’s a piece that has some clear compositional antecedents: the opening mode or sequence of notes is, Harrison acknowledges, adopted from Messiaen, while the piece is also openly inspired by Howard Skempton’s “Tendrils.” And the Skempton title certainly makes sense, affectively and structurally, the more you submerge yourself into Harrison’s world, where notes coil into phrases, phrases into architecture.

The piece is gorgeously rendered by Philip Thomas, who plays with exquisite touch for the duration of this 76-minute piece (recorded in a single take, which is impressive not just for the intensity of focus and dynamic balance required but for the range of subtleties and variations continually emerging). While Harrison’s piece is fairly dense in places, at least relative to some of the late Feldman works to which it is regularly compared, it’s nonetheless notable for its insistence on letting things breathe and take shape uncoerced by excessive formal dictates. It becomes fairly quickly apparent that Harrison is interested in an overt engagement with repetition. With careful attention to resonance and decay — allow the shapes to hang together in space, even as the piece gives a continual impression of forward movement — Harrison tacks consistently back to the nine-note mode and to a well-defined field of intervals.


In the midst of this suggestive, compelling balance between stasis and movement, there blooms a vast range of attack, dynamics (fairly minimal here), layerings, and variations. There’s a brittle, icy, at times almost metallic quality to the notes as the piece acquires its own momentum, generating energy from within. This energy yields not so much a discernible, mappable structure (though there are clear passages and sections that stand out from each other) as an environment of contrasts and effect.


Harmonically, there’s a lot of subtle dissonance or similarly bracing effects: close harmony figures appended with a single jutting note in a different register, or a chromatic series capped off by an unexpected interval. Overall, the piece moves with fascinating, often surprising rapidity, seeming to exchange ideas with itself in places, as Thomas deftly allows the effects to sustain at length, moving fearlessly through the thicket. Steadily intervallic but elliptical in its development, the accumulation of changes keeps Vessels alight with improvisational energy. By the time it reaches its closing phases, the multiple elements held together with such intensity begin to move in different directions with each of Thomas’ hands, all punctuated by a fat middle register chord motion.


And by the time it’s over, it’s hard to imagine this music not being in your head.”

Jason Bivins, Dusted


Vessels consists of the seventy-six minute title piece for solo piano. It was composed by Bryn Harrison who studied composition with Gavin Bryars at De Montfort University, Leicester, before himself becoming Head of Composition at Huddersfield University, where this recording was made in July 2013. Harrison says the piece is entirely about repetition—the micro-repetition of intervals, the repetition of phrases and the repetition of sections. He took pitches from a nine-note Messiaen mode and ran them simultaneously forwards and backwards through the cycle so that the pitch intervals are constantly expanding and contracting. He tried to get across the sense of the music being perpetually regenerative, of constantly opening up but then ending up in the same space.


This performance was by pianist Philip Thomas, for whom Harrison wrote the piece. Thomas joined the staff at Huddersfield in 2005, becoming Head of Performance in 2010. He is increasingly being featured on Another Timbre releases. The piece was recorded as a single take—no mean feat given its frequent repetitions. Its success owes a great deal to Thomas's powers of concentration.


While the composition is extremely easy on the ear and appealing on the surface, over its full duration the experience of listening to it becomes increasingly like being lost in a hedge maze; step follows step with a regular, relentless inevitability; the scenery is beautiful and relaxing but ultimately the subtle changes in it do not conceal the fact that one keeps returning to the same points over and over again from different directions. And just as being lost in a maze means that no ultimate goal is reached, here the repetitive structure leads to no resolution and one is left with the impression that it could have carried on indefinitely... In fact, the recording reaches no conclusion but stops and fades away at a seemingly arbitrary point in its flow. Just like a maze—fascinating, memorable and intriguing.”

John Eyles, All About Jazz


“Vessels for solo piano began as a 20-odd minute piece in 2012 and was expanded into a 75-minute piece last year.  Ultimately, what amazes me the most about this piece is how I feel like I’m hearing something completely new, even though it all seems so familiar. Everyone compares it to Morton Feldman’s late music, understandably, and Harrison himself cites Howard Skempton’s music as an inspiration. The subtle contrast between these two composers is revealing. Both composers work with relatively unvarying dynamics and (near) repetitions, the stock in trade of “holy minimalists” like Pärt, Górecki et. al, but to very different effect. Feldman and Skempton’s music avoids conscious expressiveness, but is all the more richly evocative of complex moods through a focus on the presentation of the musical material itself. On the surface, Skempton’s music seems more conventional than Feldman’s, being often more familiar in terms of melody, harmony and scale, but its greater self-effacement achieves a type of “anonymous beauty” which Feldman admired. I once made a crude analogy that if Feldman is like Rothko, then Skempton is like Morandi.


Where does Vessels fit in this? It’s a long, seemingly undifferentiated span of chords that unfurl at a roughly constant pace. Philip Thomas, who plays this piece superbly, “said that when he plays Feldman, he always feels that the music is moving somewhere; through all the repetitions and varying patterns you end up achieving some kind of resolution. But with your piece Philip says that he is almost disturbingly disoriented because the music doesn’t seem to move anywhere at all. Playing it he feels that – for all the notes – he’s still circulating around the same place where he started after 5, 15 or even 50 minutes. Philip was arguing that in that sense Vessels is more radical formally than Feldman.” I heard echoes of Ustvolskaya’s chorales, and the cyclical directionlessness of Hauer’s music.


Harrison himself describes the piece as “disorientating to play” and it is also disorientating to listen to, for several reasons. Vessels messes with your sense of familiarity, the repetitions and recurring chord progressions pass by with the same reassuring presence that trees have in reminding you that you’re still lost in the forest. Have we been here before? Is the music moving somewhere else now, or is my mind playing tricks on me? I’m writing this from memory after hearing it again last night, and I’m starting to wonder whether I actually heard some of the things I want to describe now. If I play it again now I’ll be up all night.

It’s also disorientating if you’re used to Feldman or repetitive minimalist music. The uncertain sense of the music cycling around you has a vertiginous effect. Instead of the sensation of looping, drawing you into the music, the effect is more of a spiralling, equally drawing you in and pushing away. There is no sense of progression or return, only of inexorable drift. This is like one of Hauer’s musical labyrinths blown up to a massive scale. It’s a worthy addition alongside piano works like Tom Johnson’s An Hour For Piano or Dennis Johnson’s November.

Philip Thomas shows tremendous stamina, playing through this maze for 76 minutes as though it all just came to him naturally. I’m really looking forward to hearing him play it live next Monday.”and recurring chord progressions pass by with the same reassuring presence that trees have in reminding you that you’re still lost in the forest. Have we been here before? Is the music moving somewhere else now, or is my mind playing tricks on me? I’m writing this from memory after hearing it again last night, and I’m starting to wonder whether I actually heard some of the things I want to describe now. If I play it again now I’ll be up all night.


It’s also disorientating if you’re used to Feldman or repetitive minimalist music. The uncertain sense of the music cycling around you has a vertiginous effect. Instead of the sensation of looping, drawing you into the music, the effect is more of a spiralling, equally drawing you in and pushing away. There is no sense of progression or return, only of inexorable drift. This is like one of Hauer’s musical labyrinths blown up to a massive scale. It’s a worthy addition alongside piano works like Tom Johnson’s An Hour For Piano or Dennis Johnson’s November.

Philip Thomas shows tremendous stamina, playing through this maze for 76 minutes as though it all just came to him naturally. I’m really looking forward to hearing him play it live next Monday.


Afterword: Last night I got to see Philip Thomas play Bryn Harrison’s Vessels live, at Cafe Oto. As implied last time, I hadn’t re-listened to the piece on CD prior to the gig. I now need to make some additional comments.

The first surprise, before the piece started, was that the piece is more thoroughly notated than I thought: a dense hedge of changing meters, irregular rhythms and tuplets, all on a single treble stave throughout. No wonder the pianist finds it disorientating. As in Feldman’s later scores, Vessels uses precise notation to produce ambiguous results, so that events seem to drift by without any sense of a rhythmic pulse underneath. The comparisons to Feldman’s music keep coming up, so here are some more important differences. Feldman used irregular rhythms to set his sounds in surrounding silence; his music is episodic, switching arbitrarily between contrasting sets of sounds. Harrison’s piece allows for no breathing space and never deviates from its initial palette of sounds and texture, which seems even more exhausting than a Feldman work of comparable scale. (The very late works for orchestra are a significant exception.) The entire work barely covers more than three octaves of the piano’s range.

The scale of the piece has an insidious effect on the listener. After a while you get used to it, become immersed in it, like an aural bath, but through sheer persistence it unnerves and captures your attention again, as you try to figure out if it has changed.

It’s remarkable how short many of the repeated passages are. The piece frequently loops on itself for a while, but the harmonic ambiguity and unfocused rhythms make it very difficult to detect where each loop begins and ends, if in fact it is repeating at all. With further analysis the ingenious construction would become more intelligible, but by that time the indelible impression of its first hearing has already been made.

Witnessing Thomas perform the piece in person, as beautifully and seemingly effortless as on record, impressed on me further what an achievement it is. Strangely, it seemed to be over too soon.”

Ben Harper, Boring Like a Drill


"Playback level should be set low to reflect the quietude of the music". Bryn Harrison's advice on his concise liners must not be entirely trusted, unless you want to miss an awful lot of bewitching tone oscillations derived from the engagement between Philip Thomas' lingering upper partials. Together with the inexpressible uncertainty generated by the unendingly re-circulating lines dictated by the score, those resonant features contribute to render Vessels an engrossingly sincere piano piece.


The overall climate might vaguely recall a classic "from-the-other-side-of-the-house" setting, this nostalgic listener picturing an antisocial student intent on practicing dissonant combinations in a placid afternoon. However, Bolton's Harrison — whose artistic roots received essential nourishment from Gavin Bryars' enlightened teachings, among others — is quick to stress that this is authentically challenging material even for a disciplined performer, lacking the natural proclivity to some kind of resolution. This adaptation of a previous 22-minute version was recorded in a single take, our hats going off to Thomas' mix of tightness, endurance and belief: sustaining 76 minutes without failing — allowing the music to thoroughly retain its grace in the meantime — is not for everybody. The player's involvement, his passion for the work, are clear from the very first listen. The cyclical recurrence factor becomes a major plus when added to the unostentatious resplendence emanated by the combined pitches.


Usual suspect Morton Feldman may unavoidably be quoted here and there when someone faces the chore of putting Vessels inside a correspondence of references. Still, do not treat it as a mere ramification, for it would be extremely unfair to both of these artists. I distinctly perceive the accuracy of the compositional decisions through the hands and mind of the pianist; the latter's coalition with the surrounding silence seals a rewarding acoustic statement.”

Massimo Ricci, Squid’s Ear