Scott Wollschleger: Dark Days

Karl Larson

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Scott Wollschleger: Dark Days Review

by James Manheim

The music of composer Scott Wollschleger has a distinctive profile that emerges clearly in solo piano music, making this a good choice for those interested in his music. Wollschleger combines several quite diverse influences from the past into a new and coherent whole. The composer is a synaesthete, and the first thing that strikes the listener here is the variety of colors he calls forth from the keyboard, beautifully brought out by his champion pianist, Karl Larson. Wollschleger's treatment of the piano unmistakably brings to mind a Claude Debussy brought into the modern era. There's also a slow-moving, repetitive quality suggesting the influence of the minimalists and perhaps of Morton Feldman. In terms of rhythm, however, Wollschleger is closer to high modernism, using devices such as proportional rhythm and generally an emphasis on the duration of notes rather than on pulse, which is there but elusive. In his transparent textures, these rhythmic devices come through clearly and interact in a wholly original way with the coloristic aspect of the composer's music. Larson worked closely with Wollschleger over the several years in which these pieces took shape, and his readings may be regarded as definitive. A novel contemporary release rooted in long traditions and accessible to all.

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