Andrea Neumann: Pappelallee 5 (2009)
The inside piano piece itself is meticulously constructed, utilizing an extensive range of inside techniques that include: striking single sustained notes that ring out bell-like tones, striking the piano frame which causes many notes to resonate simultaneously and exciting the wire-wound stings lengthwise to create a dramatic percussive effect. Neumann also employs electronic tones to complement those from the piano.
To capture the sounds from surrounding apartments (which include snatches of piano, flute, guitar and trumpet plusapparentlya CD by the F-ck Buttons ( an experimental noise duo from the UK ), Neumann had to set a high recording level, resulting in considerable levels of hiss at certain points. The whole piece is very episodic, punctuated by prolonged periods of silence which generate tension. Ultimately, the piece sounds more like an electronic score than a piano piece.
Overall, this is an intriguing work that provides a fascinating listening experience and stands up well to repeated listening. It also raises interesting questions about the contrasts between real and recorded silence and about the role that background noise now plays in all of our lives. For those reasons, composer John Cagewould doubtless have relished it.
Track Listing: Pappelallee 5.
Personnel: Andrea Neumann: inside piano, mixing desk.
Record Label: Absinth
Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde