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Tiffany Lin: Pieces for Piano and Prepared Piano

Jack Gold-Molina By

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Tiffany Lin: Pieces for Piano and Prepared Piano
Poncho Recital Hall, Cornish College of the Arts
Seattle, Washington, USA
April 3, 2006

For this event, pianist Tiffany Lin performed two major avant-classical pieces by Gyorgy Kurtag and John Cage, the first for piano and the second for prepared piano. The game piece entitled "Jatekok," by Hungarian composer Gyorgy Kurtag, began softly and meditatively, with bursts of sound and energy. It was clear from the outset that Lin is a pianist of technique and finesse, but also empathy and respect.

The piece gradually became louder, with spaces of silence, movements of coordination, and with feeling and emotion. Silence, space, and time repeated themselves with flurries of notes in crescendo, then the music tapered off. The piece built in a flood of sound, reflecting the feeling of seasons and the evening's mood, and sound was released into silence, a hard statement, as silence rushed into itself. The dream-like piece moved into pleasantness, then into less safe places. The notes became darker, then everything halted and the piece came suddenly into completion.

The second piece was American composer John Cage's "The Perilous Night (Winter 1943-44)." The textures and sounds of the mid-tempo prepared piano were like walking and knocking, the piano's strings seemingly restricted but still harmonious. With quick bursts of energy the music gained tempo and volume then moved to silence — silent spaces and phrases with abstract statements.

Quietness, sound and structure carried meaning so abstract that one could feel, see and hear its truth, but it escaped any intent to actually make conscious sense of it. The beauty was in the sounds Lin created: natural, pure, subtle, yet strong and powerful in their subtlety.

As the music became more and more present, silence preceded powerful outbursts. The timbre of the prepared piano affected its strings, which were percussive, then silent, alternating notes in the lower registers. These notes created new notes borne from Lin's creative energy — her ability to perceive and explore sound, to play with feeling and create a vivid tapestry. The sound became closer and closer to silence, and then the lower registers breathed their final note.

Photo Credit
Jack Gold

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