|long night CB0019|
Long Night is exquisitely drifting, ever-unfolding music for three pianos that sometimes play independently and at other times in synchronization with one another.
For this recording, all three piano parts were recorded by Sarah Cahill.
The composer writes
Ganns music has been performed at the Bang on a Can, New Music America, Spoleto festivals, and many similar venues. Recordings of his music have been released by the Monroe Street, New Tone, and Lovely Music labels.
Gann is an exceptionally prolific writer who has penned more than 2,000 articles for 40 publications and is a frequent contributor to Chamber Music magazine and the New York Times. He is the recipient of an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award and a Stagebill Award for music criticism. Gann is the author of three books: American Music in the 20th Century (Schirmer Books), The Music of Conlon Nancarrow (Cambridge University Press), and Music Downtown, a collection of his Village Voice articles (University of California Press). He also writes Minnesota Public Radios Peabody Award-winning radio show The American Mavericks. In 2003, the American Music Center awarded Gann its Letter of Distinction, along with Steve Reich, Wayne Shorter, and George Crumb.
Sarah Cahill specializes in American new music and music from the American experimental tradition. Composers who have dedicated works to her include John Adams, Evan Ziporyn, Larry Polansky, and "Blue" Gene Tyranny. She has premiered pieces by Lou Harrison, Terry Riley, Pauline Oliveros, Julia Wolfe, Ingram Marshall, Ursula Mamlok, George Lewis, Leo Ornstein, and many others. Cahills recitals have been broadcast on radio throughout the U.S. They have also been heard around the globe as part of WGBHs Art of the States radio program. Recent concert appearances include recitals at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., the Other Minds festival in San Francisco, and at the Solo Flights Pianorama! Festival at the Lincoln Center. Cahills recordings of works by Henry Cowell, Ruth Crawford ("There could be no more intoxicating introduction to Crawfords music than this superb recording." Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle), Johanna Beyer, and Maurice Ravel are on the New Albion label. She has also recorded George Lewis Endless Shout for the Tzadik label and Ursula Mamloks Three Bagatelles for CRI. Cahill is a host of the weekly music program Then & Now on KALW in San Francisco, and has written about music for a variety of publications.
"Composed in 1980-81, Long Night was intended to evoke Martin Heidegger's phenomenology of mood swings. Three unsynchronized piano lines flow parallel through sections of indeterminate length, overlapping like ripples from raindrops splashing into a pond in slow motion. Structurally, the 25-minute piece suggests Brian Eno's ambient loops rustled by unpredictable breezes; sonically, it recalls pianist-composer Harold Budd's limpid reveries. New-music champion Sarah Cahill plays all three parts on this economical CD single, heightening the music's gentle equanimity." Steve Smith, Time Out New York
"Best Albums of 2005 ... The composer-turned-critic dusts off a minimalist piano sketch from his apparently not-so-misspent youth." K. Leander Williams, Time Out New York
"Pianist Susan Cahill performs the three looping parts of the drifting, 25-minute Long Night (for three pianos) by composer, author, and critic Kyle Gann with elegance and control. Ruminative and impressionistic, the pianos sometimes play independently and at other times synchronize with one another. Heavily influenced during the compositional process by German philosopher Martin Heidegger, specifically his rejection of the idea of personality as a unified, linear consciousness, Gann's work likewise presents a series of moods in 'overlapping discontinuity.' Occasionally the pianos cluster into dense pools while at other times singular lines briefly rise to the surface." Ron Schepper, Signal to Noise (summer 05) Textura (May 05)
"Its a beautiful and original piece, with family links to such composers as Harry Partch, Henry Cowell, Conlon Nancarrow, and John Cage, and with allusions to nature and the East. Over long pedals, it begins rather like an alap section of a classical Indian raga: slowly, tentatively, without metre, outlining certain characteristic notes and motifs. Gradually the piece develops more definition and a freewheeling sense of momentum, to set up a delicate skein of tiny, luminous melodic phrases that recur continuously and weave paths through different registers and different pianos. These phrases eventually change or give way to othersbut the stylistic principles, and hence the broad identity of the piece, remain the same. Since the relationship between its instruments is asynchronous and aleatory, this meditative work often sounds almost like a pianistic version of an ensemble of wind chimes." Christopher Ballantine, International Record Review
"The musical ideas are tonal, tranquil, hauntingly lovely ,,, a drifting, dreamlike, ever-changing sea of notes that still somehow maintains its lilting pulse; out of it, salient ideas emerge once in a while to be echoed and extended, then sink back into the ambient sonic ocean. The composer has written that his intention was to convey the unpredictable flow of perception and reminiscence in human consciousness, and the listener can easily hear this in the piece. But there's something else, tooan elegiac quality, a sense of infinite mystery and womblike darknessthat makes us think of the 'long night' whence we came and whither we must all return. The music is beautifully played and recorded with stunning realism. I've seldom if ever heard a piano sound richer or more sensuous." American Record Guide
"I like Long Night, a 25-minute piece for three pianos whose mobile layers and loose, undulating lines suggest a half-dozen CDs of Erik Satie's melancholy Trois Gymnopédies dissected and layered in ProTools." Christopher DeLaurenti, The Stranger
"The piece has a rippling quality, like soft light illuminating a quiet room off an antique mirror, on a cloudy afternoon just before Easter, on the way down stream to later. Ambient without being minimal, classical without the powdered wig and contemporary without being electronic." David Beardsley, Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter
"Written in 1980-81, Long Night owes something to the quiet ambient music compositions of Brian Eno and others, but Ganns music never allows the listener to be lulled into complacency. As the three independent layers of music in Long Night rub up against each other, sometimes smoothly and at other times abrasivelyheat and light of various intensities are produced; it is not merely pretty. The music never takes the listener quite where he or she expects it to." Raymond Tuttle, Classical.Net
"Gann is an aficionado of Nancarrow, and Long Night's multi-tracked pianosthough mostly gentlemight recall the keyboard-based process forms of the American-Mexican maverick." Arved Ashby, Gramophone
"The bard of bloggers (get it?) serves up this half-hour post-minimal opus for three pianos. Ganns piece is hip in a lonely, meandering-through-city-streets kind of way. Its not all atmosphere though: throughout the work I was convinced I was hearing melodies, yet, when I tried to fix my ear on them, they kept slipping through my hearing like water through my hands. In other words, Long Night is subtle work, even if its a bit Zen for my taste." Sequenza21
"Pianist Sarah Cahill creates a mood that is at once calming and unnerving. There are a lot of minute nuances flying in this music. The piano work is superbly underplayed. Even when the ambience seems to be delicate on the first listen, that's only an illusion. There is depth and gorgeous hidden treasures . . . each piano is heard in crystalline fashion. The repetitiveness of the piece itself is hauntingly mesmerizing and draws you in immediately." Tom Sekowski, Gaz-Eta (Poland)
"The music is of a soft character . . . melodic atmospheres that come and go. . . . the work maintains a certain melancholy air, perhaps hinted at by the slow cadence of the music." Amazing Sounds (Spain)
"Long Night is a long-form (maxi-EP) composition ... performed by pianist Sarah Cahill. ... throughout the piece's twenty-five minutes, Cahill can be heard solo, as a duet, or even as three pianos, playing either in harmony or following three different musical threads, as it were. The music itself is quiet, minimal (for the most part) and deeply introspective. ... the emphasis here is not on recognizable refrains or even particularly overt melodies, but more on tone, nuance and notes strewn together to yield evocative snap shots of emotions, usually the more somber ones. ... Cahill's talent and technique brings beauty to every piano key played as she gently wrings emotional resonance from both the most minimal passages as well as the multi-tracked trio sections. Long Night is not particularly sad or dark, yet it's not happy, joyful, or bright either. On the other hand, it is not overly abstract, distant, cold or concerned with itself. I heard a distinct human connectedness between music and performer at almost all times (admittedly, some of the more adventurous passages lean more toward the intellectual than the soulful). Mostly, Long Night felt like the soundtrack to late urban nights, looking out over the city below as lights wink on and off in buildings across the landscape ... I solidly recommend it to fans who seek a piano album that avoids both the sterility of some more overt ambient works yet rejects the avant-garde stylings that alienate lovers of melody and structure." Wind and Wire
"Pianist Sarah Cahill plays all the three different overlapping manual loops that form the tranquilizing architecture of Kyle Gann's Long Night. casual intersections of modulating chords and the Satiesque peacefulness of Cahill's keyboard painting, with its beautiful natural resonance The thin air moves in and around this mature evocation of events definitively entrapped in a past from which they can no longer return; just being able to have a peek at them through this ancient looking glass brings long nights of aural fascination." Massimo Ricci, Paris Transatlantic
"Very 'discreet' music, with clusters of notes and recurring patterns layering and going adriftmuch as when you try to remember a beautiful and long-lost melody, its contours and details blurred and faded." Eugenio Maggi, Chain D.L.K. (Italy)
"The performance is remarkably introspective and ruminative. Cahills gorgeous playing fully illuminates the exquisite clarity of Ganns inward journey." Jason Victor Serinus, Common Ground magazine
"Long Night is a slowly building and hypnotically churning work 25 minutes in length. There is no melody, per se, but within quasi-improvisational playing, a motif reoccurs. It is developed obsessively, fractured and recombined, like troubled thoughts keeping a heavy conscience up at night. The perpetual bubbliness of the accompanying texture is attractive in its own right. Layer upon layer of chords and notes gravitate diatonically, but not tonally, to each other." Andrew Druckenbrod, Albuquerque Tribune
"Although it certainly does have a beginning and an end, it seems to be a composition without either, more or less existing in cyclical free space, sometimes converging into a unified direction, other times scattered in many. Through it all, many moods are traversed in something of a free-floating dreamworld of twinkling tonal color, the three piano parts often coming together into leading and support roles to create defined melodies or, just as often, forging outward into their own separate direction. Haunting and transcendentally beautiful." Peter Thelan, Exposé magazine
"Ah, music that makes us think." Gordon Rumson, Music & Vision
|Kyle Gann's website|