Bruce Brubaker

Time Curve: Bruce Brubaker

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This very appealing disc of post-minimal solo piano music, played by Bruce Brubaker, includes two multi-movements works by William Duckworth and Philip Glass. Composer and music critic Kyle Gann describes Duckworth's The Time Curve Preludes (1977-1978), which use repetitive structures, an essentially tonal harmonic language, and a limited amount of musical material, as the first examples of post-minimal music, because of their brevity, which runs counter to the element of minimalism in which musical changes unfold very slowly over a long time span. The preludes are in two books of 12 movements each, and Brubaker plays the first book. Although they rarely involve exact repetition, each prelude takes a musical idea and examines it from a variety of subtly shifting perspectives. The preludes generally have limited harmonic movement and are frequently built on drones, so they tend to create a sense of stasis and equilibrium, sometimes quietly meditative and sometimes busy. Duckworth's quirky hallmark mixture of major and minor modes is evident in many of the preludes. The harmonic movement and gestures of Glass' Six Etudes for Piano, from 1994, make the pieces immediately recognizable as his work. The movements of the suite have widely varied moods, from the gently ecstatic to the frenetic. Brubaker has long been an advocate for American piano music of this era, and he plays with consummate understanding and sensitive attention to the details of the music's structure. Arabesque's sound quality is warm and present.

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