Zbigniew Preisner

10 Easy Pieces for Piano

(CD - EMI Classics #5569712)

Review by

A stunning departure from Preisner's previous album, this collection of improvised piano pieces is a masterful work, at once inventive and steeped in an amalgam of musical themes. Taken individually, the minimalist pieces that vary in length from under four minutes to eight-plus minutes evoke distinct moods and sentiments. Yet combined, they are a tour de force from a master composer, a journey through soundscapes unusual in their combination, yet never unsettling even as they are pieced together in fragments. The musical equivalent of a stained glass window, this album is a treasure. Interpreted on this recording by frequent Preisner collaborator Leszek Mozdzer, the textures evoke Goreki and Rachmanainoff as well as Satie and even Keith Jarrett. Mozdzer's playing is fluent and draws on his background in jazz. His recordings with the Polish combo Milosc, including two albums with trumpeter Lester Bowie, are provocative pieces. Although most famed for his critically lauded movie work, his five scores for the movies of Krzysztof Kiesolowski are perhaps the best known, unfettered here by any visual accompaniment, Preisner makes a great case for his accolades as a pre-eminent composer. The single piano utilized here is never mundane, at times deceptively simple and then masterfully intricate and interpretative. Weaving from the simple strains of "Good Morning Melody" and "Farewell" to pieces that draw on the tonal and modal properties of the piano, "To See More" and "Talking to Myself," each piece is introduced in the liner notes with a sentence or two with Preisner musing on his inspiration. On this evidence you have a composer stretching his abilities with apparently effortless skill.