Published Dec 10, 2018Lubomyr Melnyk continues to produce exquisitely beautiful new classical work, earning an audience for his "continuous music" technique that grows wider with each release. This new effort, his latest for Erased Tapes, features contributions from other members of the label's roster. Vocalists Hatis Noit and David Allred and cellist Anne Müller add further emotional depth to Melnyk's already moving performance.
Melnyk is often described as the world's fastest pianist. He's recorded an astounding 19-plus notes per second, simultaneously with both hands. This is misleading though; it suggests a degree of aggression that is entirely absent from his work. Instead, this tightly packed, continuous approach to the piano produces waves of acoustic sound that are remarkably peaceful.
That is not to say his work is always comforting. This new album's "Requiem For a Fallen Tree" is an example of how emotionally draining his work is at times. An earlier piece — 1983's "Concert-Requiem for Violin and Piano" — was "dedicated to the victims of the Bolshevik terrorism in 1933." It is deeply touching.
The major work on this new album is the five-part title composition. It was inspired by a lengthy train ride Melnyk took through Europe, according to the album's notes. Heard with that in mind, his piano mimics the clicking tracks, as Melnyk's technique often elicits a sense of movement. This new work is one of the finest showcases we've heard for his unique style.
It's also a lovely anti-ageist statement. At 70, Melnyk is producing some of the most physically demanding work of his career. And he's doing so in front of a bigger audience than he's ever enjoyed. This is a recording of a composer/performer very much at the top of his game. (Erased Tapes)