High Resolution Audio Mastering generously underwritten by Elliot Midwood.
One can view the universe as a dialogue between emptiness and form: energy rises endlessly, finds momentary form, then dissolves once again into emptiness. One can understand emptiness, not as the void, but as the womb of all phenomena, in which, moment by moment, a new structure appears and then, mutatis mutandis, fades, only to be replaced by the next and the next, moment after moment after moment.
Closer to 'everyday life,' dialogue creates the fabric of our interpersonal relationships, our relationships with our communities, and our relationships with our selves. Music too is a dialogue: between musicians, between musical instruments, between composers and performers, between musicians and audiences, and especially in an album like Dialoghi, between composers across Europe, America and Asia, and across nine centuries of history. Music dialogues with us as it rises and falls moving through time, and sweeps us—if we allow—along in its stream of endless change. And as dialogue at all these levels, music mirrors life itself.
The music on this album reveals dialogues in many forms, often dialogues within dialogues. We hear these conversations between ‘cello and piano, old and new (Bach and Saariaho for example), between original and newly created (Machaut and Lefkowitz, for example), between Folk Music and “High Art” (de Falla and Bach, for example), between Nature and Art (Saariaho, for example), and in every piece between musician and audience and between composer and musician. In discussing the music which forms the centerpiece of this program, Dialoghi–studi su un nome (Dialogues–Studies on a Name), composer Steven Stucky explains his title: “Why ‘dialogues’? Partly because the theme notes and the non-theme notes so often interact in “conversation” throughout, but more importantly because the friendship recognized in this rests not only on my musical collaborations with Elinor Frey but also on our conversations about books, music, paintings, films, psychology, religion, food, and all things Italian (hence the title).”
Elinor Frey and David Fung share an intimate dialogue with us in this album. This is Elinor’s debut album, but David we know from his prior recordings with ABC in Australia, and Yarlung Records in the United States. Indeed I play David’s solo piano recordings on my radio broadcasts. But the quality of musical collaboration on this album reveals a sincere friendship that arose as a result of their rehearsals and performances together. Elinor and David remind me of a famous comment about Oscar Peterson and Billie Holiday performing together, that his special ability with music spread flower petals at her feet, upon which she then danced. David and Elinor communicate with sincerity and sympathetic sensitivity. Great concert pianists, primarily famous as soloists or for their concerto repertoire, sometimes also reach heights of musical collaboration. Emanuel Ax, Alfred Brendel, Jeffrey Kahane and András Schiff come to mind, especially in concert performances. Thank you Elinor and David for giving us musical dialogue of this caliber.
The music on this record—with its many splendors—acquaints us with multiple forms of dialogue. Successful dialogues (each element acting upon the other) produce change and evolution. Dialogue is quintessentially creative. Human genes “dialogue” when our species creates new life, and audience and musician can remain changed forever after a great concert. Evolution itself is an endless dialogue between beings and their environments. Dialogue, therefore, is always about Love in the largest sense, about creation, accommodation, adaptation and survival. I hope the many levels of dialogue on this album will give you years of pleasure and (who knows?) maybe even encourage evolutionary growth.