Glenn Stallcop | Night Drift

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Night Drift

by Glenn Stallcop

Hauntingly expressive improvised Classical music of exceptional freedom and facility. An exploration of music of the night.
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Driftwood
6:43 $0.99
2. Late Night Phone Call
6:30 $0.99
3. Drifter
8:13 $0.99
4. Snowdrift
5:10 $0.99
5. Place of the Butterflies
5:20 $0.99
6. The Balloon
4:00 $0.99
7. The Cloud
3:23 $0.99
8. The Whim
4:25 $0.99
9. Drifting Off
7:32 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
I am a morning person when it comes to creativity. Though I have performed at night my entire career, for creative work, I usually feel fresher and more energetic in the morning. However, all the music for this album was created at night. In fact, it was all created on the same night, September 21, 2009. I had been recording already for several days, and felt as if I was “in a zone,” so I just continued deep into the night.

My mother used to lament about the hair our dogs left everywhere, saying that they not only had a fall shed and a spring shed, but a winter shed, a summer shed, a wood shed, a tool shed, a snow shed . . . . That old family joke became the model for the separate tracks of this album, using the work “drift” instead of “shed.” Drifting is what I feel separates my night music from my morning music. It is more willing to wander off the tracks into unfamiliar territory.

1. Driftwood. Sometimes, when I am playing, I imagine myself floating in the ocean or on wind currents. My music oscillates freely – up and down, loud and soft, fast and slow, dense and thin. It is more concerned with emotional expression than “grooving” or momentum. This first track is a good example.
2. Late Night Phone Call. The opening of this track with the repeating strident single notes brought back memories of late night phone calls which are usually from relatives and usually not good. Though guarded at first, this eventually opens up and lets it all out.
3. Drifter. A drifter drifts with a purpose. Drifting is a life style, and not always forced. My cousin and her spouse bought an RV and now drift around the country, which is something they never thought they would ever do. They love it.
4. Snowdrift. Snow makes about as much noise as fog. There is such great beauty to drifting snow – the shapes, the color, the grace. It makes substance from silence.
5. Place of the Butterflies. One place that is on my bucket list is the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in the mountains of Southern Mexico. The monarchs make a yearly migration from Mexico to Southern Canada and back, a journey of 6,000 miles in six generations. It takes five generations going north but only one coming back! The butterflies return sometime in late October, usually in time for the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) holiday. Each butterfly is said to embody the soul of a dead ancestor, and is therefore revered. They number in the millions and pack the branches of the trees.
6. The Balloon. The next three pieces form a drifting trilogy. Balloons are wonderful drifters, though their journey tends to end suddenly.
7. The Cloud. This is not exactly Debussy, but the same idea.
8. The Whim. Drifting concentration has uncovered many profound thoughts, and many silly ones, too.
9. Drifting Off. This is the last piece I did, and, having played all day and night, I was dead tired. The opening idea sort of rocks me to sleep, and by the end I could feel that I was beginning to nod off. It is a curious piece that way, but good chill music for the end of the day.

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Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
Night Drift is an album of nine solo piano improvisations by Glenn Stallcop. All of the music was recorded on a single night in 2009. Stallcop generally considers himself a morning person, but he had been recording for several days and felt he was in the “zone,” so he continued to record into the night. The titles of the pieces all either have “drift” in their titles or are about something that drifts freely - in a similar fashion to the way the music was created. Stallcop says in the liner notes: “Drifting is what I feel separates my night music from my morning music. It is more willing to wander off the tracks into unfamiliar territory.”

I found Stallcop’s comments about his approach to the creation of his music enlightening: “For composition, I have always composed at the keyboard. I do not improvise as a professional performance technique; I improvise as a compositional technique. This is important because it means I do not prepare a show, develop showcase pieces, practice different styles, or rehearse with others. I enjoy improvising with others, but not as a means of ‘developing’ a program. When I improvise, I am trying to create something new rather than re-create something I did before. I don’t use improvisation in my composition as a performance technique, I use it as a creative technique. I do not use improvisation in my music; my improvisation is my music.”

Also a long-time double bassist for the Phoenix Symphony, Stallcop is a highly-regarded composer whose original works have been performed all over the country. He has fourteen published works for orchestra, thirty-three chamber music and vocal works, and multiple works for solo piano and double bass; Night Drift is his twelfth solo piano release to date. Because of the improvisatory nature of Stallcop's music, it appeals to fans of jazz as well as contemporary classical music.

Night Drift opens with “Driftwood,” a piece that “drifts” freely, not in any defined pattern of rhythm or melody, expressing the feeling of floating. “Late Night Phone Call” is more ominous in nature. Knowing how rarely good news comes in the middle of the night, this piece expresses feelings of dread and darkness, slowly building to a powerful emotional climax and then gradually calming. To again quote the liner notes, “A drifter drifts with a purpose.” The piece titled “Drifter” does just that, exploring the piano keyboard from bass to treble and back, pausing here and there to spend a little more time in some places, moving on in others. “Snowdrift” ranges from dark and powerful to very delicate and spare. “The Balloon” drifts gracefully, sometimes swept higher by wind currents, sometimes floating along at a leisurely pace until near the end when it seems to be caught in a swirling breeze, and then the piece ends abruptly - as the “lives” of balloons usually do! “The Whim” addresses “drifting concentration” and meanders as thought processes can when left to their own devices! “Drifting Off” is the last track on the album and the last track that was recorded that night. Somewhat sleepier than the other tracks, you can hear places where Stallcop was trying to resist the temptation to sleep, becoming less and less successful in that endeavor as the piece progresses. I thought maybe the piece would end with a crash as Stallcop’s head hits the piano keyboard, but the final passage is more of a dreamy surrender.

Just for the “record,” Night Drift is not intended to be sleep-inducing (except possibly “Drifting Off”) and much of it is edgy in its spontaneous creation.
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