Despite Byron Au Yong’s suggestion to ban the piano on NewMusicBox, this year has been one of the most remarkable for recordings of great new piano music—most recently the second volume of Andrew Violette’s gargantuan piano sonatas, Julius Eastman’s towering sonic landscapes for four pianos, Alvin Curran’s style-defying Inner Cities. And now A Sleeper’s Notebook, a disc-long composition by composer/pianist Eleanor Sandresky! To say that this music dreamy is perhaps too easy, but the word so accurately conveys what I feel when I hear this music, which from movement to movement conveys various aspects of a sleep cycle in music that ranging from Feldman-esque subtlety to minimalist rapture. The penultimate movement, “REM 2,” conveys rapid eye movement during sleep through a gradually expanding series of hypnotic ostinatos. I can’t wait to attempt to listen to this music at home in the middle of the night or the early morning in a semi-conscious not-quite-awake state.
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