Center for Deep Listening at Rensselaer
Tomie Hahn Director
hahnt "at" rpi.edu

 

    

 

In the Language of the Dream

New Vanguard Series - October 1, 2006

This performance was presented as part of Ione's 11th Annual Dream Festival

David Arner - Piano
Rosi Hertlein - Violin, Voice

All compositions by David Arner and Rosi Hertlein
Published by Canopia Publishing, BMI

1. The Threshold - 6:53
2. The Scene - 11:35
3. The Openings - 10:45
4. Romance Fantasy - 8:15
5. Memories - 8:13
6. Only Events Exists - 7:46 LISTEN

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Live From the Center

David Arner

Exercising both the inside and outside of the piano means that you are dealing with the entire instrument. It means that you are dealing with all of the piano’s dynamics. And discovering what is possible within the realm of possibilities which you know, as a musician, you cannot possibly exhaust.

David Arner’s piano vocabulary in his new solo recording is extraordinarily rich. He has augmented his musical vocabulary with this one instrument volumetrically.

His sense of the piano is extremely acute. He knows the piano’s relationship to how the sound will rise out of it. The key to the relationship is the attack he will choose: planting his fingers on the keys, using his fingers to pluck the strings on the sounding board, holding a mallet to bounce on the strings… Then, comes the music. How the notes are put together, how the phases become sensible, and how pushing the envelope on repetitions of phrases imbues great power in a sonorous atmosphere to build its omnipresence and incessant tempo. This atmosphere is juxtaposed to quietude, and equally present are runs and trills, silence and deeply felt and internally driven accents and sustenutos and dampening resonance. The music is in a perfect balance.

Arner’s playing has characteristics that qualify as signature. There are times when he executes his music as if it were played on a piano roll. It is really quite amazing. He can manufacture brilliant continuity with the left hand which simultaneously is countered by a right-handed series of separated single, double, triple notes. Then the two hands switch roles and the continuity evolves in another way. Just as intense as the multiplicitous ranges of note and phrase series could be a repeated, very evenly timed single note cadenza. Arner’s choice of how to combine the tonal with the percussive gives substance to the origin of both, which is the same.

Arner approaches his improvisations with exquisite conception. The rapidity and clarity with which his pieces precisely unfold are remarkable. It is with certainty that I feel that his idea of time corresponds with its passage. It is as if he doesn’t want to let one increment of time pass unnoticed, undocumented, unused. In this way, he is bearing witness to time in its penultimate form. For the process of improvisation is, in itself, a means to document time. It is a means for the mind, emotion and universal view to blend into an unfettered, irrevocable, inimitable sound force. The ramifications of that marriage are completely absorbing and a lesson in how vast is the capacity of this pianist to create exciting, energized and unforgettable music.

Arner steps beyond the academic. It is that step which takes him into musical zones that not only require rapt attention but also render rapt attention an automatic response to the music.

Reviewed by: Lyn Horton, Jazzreview

 

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Solo Piano

David Arner

Although David Arner’s SOLO PIANO, on Dogstar Records, has been released for awhile, it has recently come to my attention. Arner is a member of the audience at many of the concerts of improvised music which I attend. Based on this fact, I thought to find his music to listen to and see if the correlation in our tastes translated to his own musical invention. It was no surprise that it did.

The origins of Arner’s pianistic vocabulary is unquestionably clear in the first phrases that he plays. I was going to use the word “measures” instead of phrases to describe what he plays but this would put his improvisation into a false context. The idea of meter and classical composition comes forth starkly in this recording and he alludes to the music of specific classical composers, yet when comparing Arner’s phraseology to that of composed music, I can hear the difference. Arner’s music, though incredibly detailed and formal, is free. It is music that is created as a result of the assimilation of a vast body of knowledge about the classical music of the era that changed the way music composition was approached in some cases and how music changed as a result of cultural milieu, particularly in the mid 20th century.

This music is not angry; it is direct. This music is sometimes playful, not messy. This music touches on an entire body of methodologies, extending, for example, to that of early piano jazz and songbook jazz. This music demonstrates how Arner casts a huge net of thoughtful expressionism over an intelligent group of statements to be collected and placed into a recording that has great continuity within absolute contrast, one cut to the other. Arner knows internally the vastness of the task of honing in on appropriate means of assembling within one recording a balance of experience with innovation.

With Glenn Gould perseverance, Arner has planted a valuable seed in the improvised piano field of dreams. What is extremely tantalizing is his ability to go through the entire recording pulling, and tugging, and springing off the keyboard to burst out at times with a powerfully rhythmic hammering of the keys, glissandos, studious mid-register repetitions, or simply, a mild scattering of notes & chords counteracted with carefully chosen nearly twelve tone pitch arrays that travel to a just end.

Arner’s fingers speak with a soft gentle intention. He is dedicated to the service of the mastery of the acoustic piano keyboard. A reverence to it is so blatantly indicated that his music can inspire graciously and thankfully a deep emotional response to its sincere seriousness.

Reviewed by: Lyn Horton

 

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Spherical Ventures

New Vanguard Series - August 20, 2006

Tetra Sphere
David Arner - Piano
Pauline Oliveros - Accordion
Michael Bisio - Bass
Vonn New - Percussion

All compositions by Arner, Oliveros, Bisio, New
Published by Canopia Publishing, BMI

1. Biosphere - 17:44
2. Atmosphere - 16:50
3. Stratosphere - 12:33
4. Interlude - 4:04 LISTEN
5. The Core - 12:14

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