Joshua Pierce | Pianist Joshua Pierce

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Classical: Contemporary Classical: Chamber Music Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Pianist Joshua Pierce

by Joshua Pierce

Classical, piano, chamber music, virtuosic
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
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  Song Share Time Download
1. O Lord, Bless Thy Mountains, opus 276 -1
2:21 album only
2. O Lord, Bless Thy Mountains, opus 276 -2
2:23 album only
3. O Lord, Bless Thy Mountains, opus 276 -3
2:13 album only
4. Sibelius And The Cuckoo of Jarvenpaa
4:59 album only
5. Meditation sur deux Themes
6:39 album only
6. Kabinett Mit Vierteltonen -1
0:24 album only
7. Kabinett Mit Vierteltonen -2
2:27 album only
8. Kabinett Mit Vierteltonen -3
0:38 album only
9. Daughters Of The Lonesome Isle
8:04 album only
10. Praeludium, Blues Und Toccata -1
1:57 album only
11. Praeludium, Blues Und Toccata -2
3:56 album only
12. Praeludium, Blues Und Toccata -3
1:31 album only
13. Syrtes
15:03 album only
14. Three Quarter-Tone Pieces -1
3:41 album only
15. Three Quarter-Tone Pieces -1
2:56 album only
16. Three Quarter-Tone Pieces -1
4:13 album only


Album Notes
Alan Hovhaness’ O Lord, Bless Thy Mountains, opus 276, for two pianos tuned a quartertone apart, was recorded in the CAMI Hall on June 14, 1991 in New York following its American Festival of Microtonal Music (AFMM) concert premiere that same day. The late composer wrote, “While riding on a bus in Seattle and looking at the mountains, I composed the music as a religious hymn to the beauty and inspiration of these wonderful peaks.” Opus 276 was originally composed for the pianists, John and Thelma Dierks of Virginia.

Robert Bonotto’s Sibelius & the Cuckoo of Jarvenpää, op. 16, utilizes a conventional piano and glockenspiel, offset by quartertonal intervals on the viola and cello. According to a biography of Jean Sibelius' last years by his secretary, Santeri Levas, Sibelius expressed the sentiment that the cuckoo's call was particularly memorable due to its lilting song falling exactly between the major and minor third. Accordingly, Mr. Bonotto wrote a musical composition to express something of the elder composer's love for his natural surroundings, premiered in Columbia University’s St. Paul’s Chapel on April 15, 1994. Born in Princeton, New Jersey in 1962, Robert Bonotto is a Boston-based composer of over 80 compositions, published illustrator, and actor.

Ivan Wyschnegradsky’s Meditation sur deux themes is derived from the composer’s grand work, The Day of Existence for French narrator and full orchestra in conventional tuning. The Meditation, originally composed in 1917 for cello in quartertones and sixthtones and piano, was arranged for bassoon and piano by Johnny Reinhard. Thanks to the generosity of Bruce Mather of Montreal, Canada, a copy of the original manuscript was obtained. This latest commercially released recording by the AFMM, now on PITCH, was recorded on February 8, 2003 in the Washington Square Church in Greenwich Village, New York City.

Swiss composer Roland Moser’s Kabinett mit Vierteltönen is a selection from a set of vignettes for two pianos tuned a quartertone apart. They are a “collection of short curiosities” that aim to amplify the communication between the performing pianists. Roland Moser is a resident of Berne, Switzerland, reputedly composing in some of nature’s greatest beauty. The AFMM New York University Theatre concert was recorded on October 17, 1992.

John Cage (1912-1992), composer of Daughters of the Lonesome Isle, is recognized as an important innovator in many areas, such as percussion music, noise liberation, philosophical Dadaism, and prepared piano. Daughters of the Lonesome Isle was composed in 1945 for dance, and has 19 distinct atmospheric sections. It utilizes advanced preparations of 36 keys of a traditionally tuned piano by placing various implements (e.g., rubber, screws, bolts, etc.) between the strings inside the piano. The effect is of rich aggregates of timbral inharmonicity, distorting the usual piano sound by turning the instrument into a colorful percussion ensemble. The performance was recorded on November 11, 1992.

Czech composer Stepan Konicek’s Praeludium Blues und Tocatta was given its US premiere on October 10, 1992 at the NYU Theatre. Better known in his native country for his film scores, Konicek (b. 1928) is a leading European proponent of quartertonal composition. In 1982, Konicek, who had studied with microtonal pioneer, Alois Hába in Prague, was a successful film composer. Konicek was commissioned by the Munich publishing firm Filmkunst Musikverlag to write microtonally for the first time. In addition to composing 16 new concert works, Konicek has integrated microtonal writing into over 200 film and television works.

Maurice Ohana’s Syrtes features cello and piano, although its title’s meaning remains inscrutable, the piece exists in an abstract sound world with a tonal emphasis on thirdtones. The late Mr. Ohana, of French and Basque ancestry, returned again and again to the thirdtone. Syrtes was commissioned by Mstislav Rostropovitch so as to add to the repertoire “a poetic work for cello and piano” that fully exploits the sonorous richness of the two instruments. The performance was recorded on October 10, 1992 at the NYU Theatre.

Charles Ives’s Three Quarter-Tone Pieces (1921) for two pianos is the seminal American work of microtonality. Vigorously encouraged in childhood to explore fresh tonal relationships by his father, composer Charles Ives (1874-1954) waited until the very end of his composing career to heed his advice. Ives went so far as to call quartertones a “family prejudice.” Ives contributed a thought-provoking monograph entitled Some ‘Quartertone’ Impressions in by 1924. However, this live performance has two pianos set at slightly more than a standard quartertone of 50 cents; it has been stretched to 60 cents resulting both greater consonance and distinctiveness. Quartertones are essentially 11-limit harmonies, but 60 cents intervals emulate 13-limit harmonies. There is a decided preference for this distinction made by Ives in Ives’s Memos. The AFMM concert was recorded on September 19, 1992 at the NYU Theatre.

International recording and concert artist Joshua Pierce has performed as a soloist, and with chamber ensembles, including Russia's famed Leontovich String Quartet and Chamber Players International; and with orchestras including The Philharmonia Virtuosi, Chicago Sinfonietta, Missouri Symphony, Utah Symphony, Mexico City Philharmonic, London Philharmonia, the Royal Philharmonic, the Slovak Philharmonic, Czech Radio symphony, the Czech National, RAI Orchestra of Rome, Moscow State Philharmonic and the Russian State Symphony. His long time association with John Cage produced the landmark series of recordings of Cage's music for the German label Wergo, as well as on Ants in Italy and Solyd in Russia. He was the 1991 recipient of the coveted Prise Der Schalllatten Kritic Award and has had numerous Grammy award nominations. Pierce's discography includes the complete piano concerti of Beethoven, Brahms and Liszt as well as numerous other 19th and 20th century masterworks on nearly 40 CDs. His 25-year collaboration with pianist Dorothy Jonas, as part of the two-piano team Pierce and Jonas, has resulted in numerous first recordings and premiere performances, as well as a command performance for Great Britain’s Royal Family. Mr. Pierce is a member of the American Festival of Microtonal Music Ensemble and serves on its Board of Directors, working extensively with its director, Johnny Reinhard. Together they have toured Italy, England, Norway, Switzerland, and Russia.

Recordings are “live” from AFMM concerts, except Hovhaness’ O Lord, Bless Thy Mountains, recorded in CAMI Hall, NYC
Producer: Johnny Reinhard
Recording Engineer: Norman Greenspan
Music Editing by James Rosenthal
Mastering by Gregory K. Squires Music Production
CD Cover Artist: Orlanda Brugnola
Type Design: Dolores Cotton and V9 Digital
Support from the New York State Council on the Arts, LLL Foundation, and the Maldeb Foundation

Johnny Reinhard, Director, AFMM
318 East 70th Street, Suite #5-FW
New York, New York 10021 USA





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