This new release marks the first collection of Alvin Curran’s major works for piano solo. It also marks the first release in Mode’s Edition Yvar Mikhashoff, a series documenting the great artistry of the late pianist. Yvar Mikhashoff was a champion of new and neglected music — his unique style revealed new facets and insights to everyscore he played. The full scope of his pianistic brilliance will be showcased in Mode’s comprehensive Edition YvarMikhashoff, including solo composer recitals, four volumes of The Great American Piano, a disc of Tangos, three discs ofMelodramas, and releases of Mikhashoff’s own Opera Transcriptions and compositions. On this first volume of the Edition he turns his attention to his friend Alvin Curran. Curran’s music is enjoyingincreased exposure in the market lately, with recent releases on Catalyst, New Albion and Tzadik.
The three works here are all “in memoriam” to Curran’s friends and mentors: composers Morton Feldman and Cornelius Cardew and Julian Beck, cofounderof the Living Theater. The mesmerizing For Cornelius is a work which evolves from its melancholy Satie-esque beginning to growing repeated tremeloed chords of hair-raisingintensity. This is the recorded premiere of the revised version.
The spare, introspective Schtetl Variations (to Feldman) is a fully composed piece with an amazing improvisatory manner. Of this performance, Curran says: “Yvar played this piece as he did all of my music: as if it were his own — (he) immediately understood that this music had nothing to do with the notes on the page; his playing went right to the source.”