Paul Lansky: The Long and Short of It

This release features three intimate chamber works by Paul Lansky. All are fairly recent, composed after Lansky’s transition to a more tonal style.

“The Long and Short of It” is the most recent work, completed in 2015. This wind quintet is based on a section of Mozart’s Serenade for Winds, K. 361. Lansky uses the pulsing rhythmic figure as a foundation to build his melodies upon.

Windscape performs with sensitivity and verve. At times one can hear the work’s Mozartian roots in their playing. The recording perfectly balances the need for a homogenous ensemble sound and that of hearing each individual voice.

Lansky’s first instrument was the guitar. His 2014 work “Talking Guitars” benefits from his intimate knowledge of the instrument. The work is presented as a dialogue between two guitars. Both Jiyeon Kim and Hao Yang are students of David Starobin. They both play with exceptional clarity, making this conversation easy to follow.

Lansky’s 2006 work “Pieces of Advice” is for French horn and piano. It has five movements. Each represents a different mood: mysterious, proud, patient, annoying, and insistent.

Lansky played the French horn. The music is challenging but uses the instrument to full advantage. The performances were fine, but I found this the least interesting of the three works. To my ears, there seemed little interaction between the two instruments — the horn was the solo instrument, the piano provides the accompaniment.

Overall, though, this is a good addition to Bridge Record’s Lansky series.

Paul Lansky: The Long and Short of It
Windscape; Jiyeon Kim, Hao Yang, guitars; William Purvis, horn; Mihaei Lee, piano
Bridge Records 9495

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