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Khasma Piano Duo | Switchback

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Classical: New Music Ensemble Classical: Keyboard Music Moods: Featuring Piano
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by Khasma Piano Duo

In their debut album, Ashlee Mack and Katherine Palumbo perform six eclectic four-hand works that were chosen from their 2014 call for scores. Works by Michael Ippolito, Marti Epstein, Symeon Waseen, Lawrence Moss, Cosimo Colazzo, and Jean Ahn.
Genre: Classical: New Music Ensemble
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Pianoduo
8:18 $1.50
2. Memories of 13 Snowflakes
9:28 $1.50
3. Clockwork 014589 II
6:26 $1.50
4. Omaggio
6:40 $1.50
5. Stanze
6:46 $1.50
6. Fingerdance
10:50 $1.50
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The Khasma Piano Duo was formed in 2012 by Ashlee Mack and Katherine Palumbo. Because they share a passion for contemporary music, the duo has dedicated themselves to the performance of works from the 20th and 21st centuries. In 2014, they held a call for scores and chose six four-hand works to be performed and recorded. In addition to the release of Switchback, the duo will record six more works from their call for scores in 2016.

Michael Ippolito wrote pianoduo (2007) as a response to the piano duo as a genre. Reacting to the fact that most piano four-hand music is decidedly small in scale, even domestic, he tried to combine the fun of playing these duets with the goal of pushing the limit of how much music one piano can handle. The piece is constructed in three sections: the first is a jumble of music – fanfares and booming chords – winding down to pianissimo forearm clusters. Out of the fog of the clusters, a pulsating chord emerges to support a lyrical theme in the high register. The last section is an accelerando back to the opening material, ending as it started with banging clusters.

memories of thirteen snowflakes (2011) by Marti Epstein was composed after reading an article in the New Yorker about the structure of snowflakes and how they often don’t develop their unique characteristics until just before they fall to earth. This concept suggested each of the thirteen musical motives in the piece.

Clockwork 014589 II (2009) by Symeon Waseen consists of a clock-shaped score with segments in which musical material is freely distributed by the pianists. Complimentary hexachords are fully exchanged at the mid-point, where the pianists play a 12-tone chord, the only “coordinated” point in the piece.

Everything about Omaggio (1967) by Lawrence Moss is quite fluid – the metrics, durations, even the position of the performers. The one constant is the pitches, which are fixed in various clouds of sound. Moss was living in Italy at the time he wrote it, and the “omaggio” (hommage) is to the sensuous beauty of Italy.

Stanze (1997/2013) by Cosimo Colazzo is based in a single field of sounds which totally surround it. The form is punctuated by a series of strophes which evolve from less dense states--rich in linear articulations--towards much denser, concentrated chordal ones. The strophes are traversed by a single long breath which is sustained through the entire piece.

Jean Ahn carefully choreographed the twenty fingers in Fingerdance (2012) to dance a new version of Korean traditional dance ‘Ganggangsulrea’. Using the form of this circular dance, the fingers communicate by playing games, singing, crying, and sharing hope throughout the piece.

Special thanks to our recording engineer, James Romig, and to our album cover artist, Chris Craychee.



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