The abstractness of the three related Daniel Rothman works on this disc may strike many as being very enigmatic.
The accompanying notes are almost equally oblique and don't do much to enlighten us as to Rothman's intentions other than to point out the sources of his immediate inspiration. Yet the music is intriguing, due in great part to Eric Huebner's interpretations. In their own ways, all of the pieces reflect some of the "rhythmic stillness" of his opera Cèzanne's Doubt and his work for teleclarinet Yes, Philip, Androids Dream Electric Sheep, but using an unprepared, conventionally tuned piano, they don't have any of the microtonality of those other works.
The first work, La mùsica: mujer desnuda -- corriendo loca por la noche pura, is the most abstract, consisting of very quiet, single, extremely widely spaced notes for its first half, which are then built to simple chords and interspersed with passages more like the mystical works of Messiaen and Sorabji, although with much less of the formalism of Sorabji. Because of the pacing of the music, it's very difficult to make it hold together, but Huebner not only does, he also gives it a sense of direction and shape, making it captivating and even compelling. Even those who might otherwise think the opening strange will have a hard time resisting sticking around to find out where the next note leads. The remaining works are more conventional in almost every way: more polyphonic, with rhythmic qualities and an atonality that imply constant chatter or the busy background noise of urban life in the narrow ways they change over the course of the works. And again, Huebner is able to communicate with the listener, especially in the way Telling the Bees follows directly from Queens Plaza, bringing focus to the music.
The different touches used in the highest registers of the piano in Telling the Bees also links it back to La mùsica. The piano's sound is excellently captured, not too close or too distant, very natural. That allows Huebner's playing to come to the fore, making it easy for a listener to approach Rothman's music without overextending his/her patience and imagination.
|La mùsica: mujer desnuda - Corriendo loca por la noche pura, for piano||Eric Huebner||34:31|
|Queens Plaza, for piano||Eric Huebner||15:27|
|Telling the Bees, for piano||Eric Huebner||4:29|