MONK Railroad (Travel Song). RACHMANINOFF Five Preludes: op. 23, Nos. 2, 7, 10; op. 32, nos. 5, 12. RAVEL Gaspard de la nuit. TAO Read more class="ARIAL12bi">_vestiges. iridescence
At the time of this recording, Conrad Tao was 18 and still a student at Juilliard (in a joint program with Columbia University). It is an impressive debut at a number of levels. In a broad sense, Tao is clearly an adventuresome composer and purveyor of music, and yet his playing is, almost conversely, elegant and even introspective. This is especially evident in his ingratiating way with Rachmaninoff, which he presents with a minimum of bombast. His unpretentious affection for the delicacy of the music ties it to the Ravel Gaspard de la nuit in a way that I had never imagined before. I would guess that Tao has studied the touchstone recordings of the Rachmaninoff pieces, those of the composer himself, for like those performances, Tao eschews sentimentality while distilling the real sentiment of the music. Not bad work for someone who can’t yet order a beer legally.
The world does not need another recording of Gaspard, but this is an especially lovely one, for the same reasons that make the Rachmaninoff so successful; intelligent and theatrically selfless playing, as fresh as spring flowers. Meredith Monk’s brief tribute to trains, appropriately motoric and minimalist, fits this aesthetic neatly. Tao’s own music seems to reflect his esteemed program mates. The four vestiges are meant to be dream-like, but not in any kind of menacing way. They are built around intriguing rhythmic structures; I hear some Ginastera here, also Impressionism. Iridescence is scored for piano and iPad, and is said to be influenced by Messiaen and Brian Eno, curious bedfellows indeed. The piece is quirky and fun, but also evincing a real sense of beauty, an apt musical autobiographical sketch of this intriguing young man, certainly someone to keep an ear open for.
Brilliant young pianistJune 10, 2017By Robert C. (Tucson, AZ)See All My Reviews"Recent soloist with local TSO. Brilliance immediately apparent. This disc and disc entitled "Pictures" further demonstrates his power, his technique and his musicianship. Splendid. Looking forward to spending time listening to him grow. Exciting to contemplate. In many ways, he is already a complete and astounding musician. Bought the disc for the Ravel which is fantastic. Didn't listen to the Rachmaninoff for the longest time; I have lots of great recordings of these pieces. Finally got around to it, and now I can add this disc to the list of the great ones!"Report Abuse