Martin Goldray, piano
Piano music has been central to Milton Babbitt's output throughout his career, and his music makes a marvelous new instrument out of the piano we have inherited from the late nineteenth century. His piano music creates a new kind of virtuosity, dazzling in live performance and heady enough in recorded sound. He relies especially on the piano's clarity of articulation and the easy accessibility of its huge registral span. And he makes the most imaginative, dramatic, and varied use of the timbral contrasts of different registers; often the registers seem to interact like partners in a lively conversation.
Like other valuable parts of the piano repertory, Babbitt's pieces respond to the contrasting styles of different performers, providing a sensitive medium for communication of the performer's sensibility. Alan Feinberg's steely sheen, almost aggressive, is utterly different from Robert Taub's darker timbres and impetuous rhythms. Martin Goldray's performances add a distinctive new voice - my personal favorite for this music. In Goldray's hands these pieces often seem delicate, almost fragile; more than other performers, he brings out the fascination of the quieter parts of the pieces. He has a precision of dynamic and timbral control akin to Schnabel's, creating stunningly diverse surfaces and making full use of the piano's timbral richness and differentiation. He shapes every motion, every silence, into meaningful gesture. Listening to Goldray, you hear the intensity of his concentration and the intensity of his own listening. It has never been easier to be drawn into Babbitt's music, to hang on every note, every odd, beautiful event, from beginning to end.
This title, originally issued on the CRI label, is now available for order from New World Records as an on-demand CD (CD-R). It can also be downloaded in MP3/320, FLAC and/or WAV format(s).