Claudia Ulla Binder is a piano teacher based in Zürich. Although she has been active on the improvised music front since the early '80s, her work has been rarely documented. This Solo Piano CD, recorded September 8 and 9, 1999, at Boswil (Switzerland), introduced her to a wider audience. She favors short pieces (mostly between two and four minutes), which allows her to explore various styles. The boundary between composition and improvisation is blurry: although the pieces are clearly improvised, it seems their setting was predetermined. In general, Binder's playing belongs to the contemporary piano music tradition rather than jazz. One can hear the influence of Charles Ives on pieces like "Etwas Flatterhaft," while Cage-ian techniques are applied on other numbers. The almost serial construction of "Ist Die Frage" contrasts with the string-scratching on "Honiglied" or the eerie buzzing strings on "City Night Lines," clearly the most surprising track (did she use an E-Bow to make them vibrate like that?). Solo Piano illustrates the creativity and versatility of the pianist and makes an enjoyable listen, thanks to Binder's musical language constantly revised from one piece to the next.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture