“Lyricism: Songs Without Words” – MICHAEL GLENN WILLIAMS: Songs Without Words 1, 2 & 3; Canzicranz Dance; Berceuse; Enchanted Forest Suite; Nocturne; Collage Suite; Regrets; Romance – Roberto Prosseda, piano – AIX Records
Published on October 11, 2006
Another of the packed-to-the-brim feature-full Aix releases, this one has no video of the performer but every sort of audio option one could possibly imagine. It offers a separate disc for the standard stereo CD, which we feel is the best approach to DualDisc. If you have a DVD-Audio-capable player you can access the MLP 5.1 surround mix, which gives a “Stage” presence – up close to this fine pianist. If you just have a standard DVD player, you can choose among a DTS-encoded version of this 5.1 mix (just about as good), a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix with a more distant “Audience” perspective, or a 96K/24bit uncompressed PCM stereo mix. There are also many other features such as How to Use the Disc, Setup, Test Tones, even sheet music to print out of some of the selections.
Williams is an American composer and pianist who writes in a lyrical but not terribly melodic style. Serialism, set theory, improvisation and folk music are heard in his generally introspective pieces. Many different idioms of writing for the piano come together in his music, which strives for atmospheric and coloristic effects something like Debussy’s piano music, but working in the atonal rather than the whole-tone realm. The Enchanted Forest suite of four movements show an especially orchestral approach to the keyboard. Clean, detailed and wide-range reproduction of the grand piano is vital to appreciation of William’s music, and that is provided by Aix in all of the different versions, but especially the 5.1 MLP hi-res surround. I was hoping for a bit more melodic material to hang onto in these works, but if you are part of that audience segment with serialized ear/brain appreciation, give this review another star and enjoy.
- John Sunier