Without Words is the 5th album at NativeDSD from pianist Bruce Levingston on the Sono Luminus label.
Mendelssohn’s Songs without Words simply defy ordinary description. Refined and nuanced, they constitute some of the composer’s finest and best-known works. For nearly two hundred years, they were regarded as charming relics, select romantic gems performed in small concert halls and salons. While their subtle, ornamental qualities certainly shine brightest in more intimate settings, closer inspection reveals an unexpected depth and complexity to these miniature masterpieces. Their interpretive and technical demands are considerable, requiring sensitivity to voicing, pedaling and dynamic control. Meant to enchant rather than dazzle, they evoke myriad dreams revealing some of the composer’s innermost reflections. Like private entries in a musical diary, they offer a rare glimpse into this reserved but passionate artist’s thoughts.
In recent years, Mendelssohn’s Songs without Words lived on my piano. Amidst turbulent societal change, these moving works remain a source of solace and peace. At the height of the pandemic, Dr. Kirk Payne – an old high school friend treating Covid patients – reached out. He wished to fund a beautiful memorial to those lost and those fighting the disease. With his generous support, I commissioned Price Walden, a longtime admirer of Mendelssohn’s Songs without Words, to compose a new set that would reflect upon our own era. Hearing Walden’s seven splendid pieces, I selected fourteen of the finest works from Mendelssohn’s collection – seven to precede the new cycle and seven to follow.
A superb watercolorist, Mendelssohn displays his mastery of line and color throughout these exquisite tone poems. Resonant with allusions to many of Mendelssohn’s Songs without Words, Walden’s cycle ventures beyond its source to imagine a new and inspired tonal canvas. Through their music, both composers – in conversation across centuries – explore the realms of memory, nature, joy, anguish, loss, gratitude, and love – eloquently communicating in a shared language too definite for words.
Bruce Levingston, Piano
TracklistPlease note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Total time: 01:12:27
|Original Recording Format|
|Release Date||September 22, 2023|
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