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Tobin Mueller | Of Two Minds: The Music of Frederic Chopin and Tobin Mueller

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Of Two Minds: The Music of Frederic Chopin and Tobin Mueller

by Tobin Mueller

Tobin Mueller, award-winning Jazz pianist, reinterprets Chopin's greatest works (Disc 1) and then performs 3 original piano sonatas as a Romantic homage to Chopin (Disc 2).
Genre: Jazz: Piano Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Polonaise, Op. 40: A Major (Military Theatre)
4:22 $0.99
2. Nocturne, Op. 9: No. 2 in E-Flat Major (To Find Without Searching)
5:02 $0.99
3. Etude, Op. 10: No. 5 in G-Flat Major (Black Keys and Butterflies)
2:43 $0.99
4. Mazurka, Op. 17: No. 4 in A Minor (Captured Heart)
3:48 $0.99
5. Etude, Op. 10: No. 12 in C Minor (Revolutionary Disquisition)
4:17 $0.99
6. Berceuse, Op. 57: D-Flat Major (Lullaby Avant Sati)
4:51 $0.99
7. Nocturne, Op. 9: No. 3 in B Major (Angels Walking)
4:34 $0.99
8. Polonaise, Op. 53: A-Flat Major (Heroic Couplet, A Tango of Vanities)
4:40 $0.99
9. Nocturne, Op. Posthumous: C-Sharp Minor (Quivering)
6:32 $0.99
10. Fantaisie-Impromptu, Op. 66: No. 4 in C-Sharp Minor (Simplicity: The Last Limit of Experience)
5:14 $0.99
11. Time As Emergent Phenomenon
4:02 $0.99
12. Unexpected Escape
6:19 $0.99
13. Two Minds
5:17 $0.99
14. Phases of the Moon
6:52 $0.99
15. Momentary Clarity
2:47 $0.99
16. The Goddess Speaks
5:00 $0.99
17. Storytime
3:42 $0.99
18. Stages of Dream and Memory (After Chopin's Prelude No. 7)
4:52 $0.99
19. Starfall: Untold Reflections
5:49 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
OF TWO MINDS: The Music of Frédéric Chopin and Tobin Mueller

“In every case, the listener has the sense that Mueller is having his personal conversation as a composer and pianist with these great composers.” - Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold, Fanfare Magazine

"Of Two Minds" is the third album in what Mueller calls "The Masterwork Trilogy", three albums in which he explores the interconnections between musical eras. Using piano masterworks as inspiration, Mueller has taken on the Baroque period ("Flow", 2015), Impressionism ("Impressions of Water & Light", 2014), and now Romanticism, combining them with Jazz, Blues, Tango and modal New Age, sometimes within a single arrangement. "Of Two Minds" explores the music of Frédéric Chopin. Through adaptation, variation and original works, Mueller infuses new life into Chopin’s classics, just as Chopin, in turn, inspires Mueller's original jazz.

"Disc One: Tobin Plays Chopin" consists of reinterpretations of selected Chopin pieces.
"Disc Two: Tobin Plays Tobin" presents original works by Tobin Mueller inspired by Chopin's préludes.

In Disc 1, Mueller takes on Chopin's best known Polonaises, Mazurkas, Études and Nocturnes. In Disc 2, he uses the Preludes to create completely original music, showing how "Two Minds" can conspire and cross-pollinate.

"Mueller is one of the most creative musical minds out there... I love that he ignores all boundaries for musical genres in this music, juxtaposing modal jazz, blues, Broadway, prog rock, and new age (and others) with classical stylings, giving free reign to his vast experience and training along with an imagination that knows no limitations." - Kathy Parsons, Mainly Piano

There is already something wonderfully modern about Chopin. More than any composer before him, much of his music resembles songs, with melody lines that sing like the human voice. Innovative harmonics, radically new key changes, arrhythmic flourishes, and variations that seem more like improvisations than calculations... all this opened the door to what music would become. It makes this collection of musical re-imaginings all the more compelling. Mueller extends this Romantic voyage through his signature compositions and virtuosic playing.

Read what Mueller wrote in his liner notes about his experience working on The Masterworks Trilogy:

"As I moved through the Chopin repertoire, I found it affecting me in profoundly different ways than the other music examined in this Trilogy. Bach’s cerebral precision thrust me into each score’s analytics. At the very least, Bach presented puzzles and provocations that challenged me to make sure every note had a reason, that every broken rule could be justified in a computational way. "Flow: The Music of J.S. Bach and Tobin Mueller" contains some of my most difficult music. While working on Chopin, however, I found myself walking with a lighter gait. I contemplated love instead of loss, night skies instead of purposeful afternoons, poetic phrasing instead of time signatures. Chopin freed me from the burden of competitive construction."

Mueller comments on the differences between Chopin and the Impressionists:

"Seduction pervades Chopin's music, but it is different than the sensuality expressed by the Impressionists’ literal immediacy ("Impressions of Water & Light"). Chopin is more formal yet more internal. The watery runs and whole tone harmonics of Debussy and Ravel conjure fabulously idyllic images of Nature, fluid and tactile, as if one is experiencing it at that moment. Chopin seems to express more of a nostalgic meditation, a memory of what Nature and Experience leaves within you. I found myself playing (and arranging) from a place of recollection instead of emersion. The music seems more of a personal reflection, less of an attempt at capturing action or participation."

The double-CD package includes extensive notes on Chopin and George Sand, explains what is behind each arrangement and original composition, and, like the two other albums in this Trilogy, contains wonderful artwork. Please consider purchasing the complete package. It will provide hours of enjoyment.

Mueller, like Chopin, expresses the Hero’s struggle in powerfully intimate terms. With every phrase, they both expose their inner self, artists emoting on a confidential level, combining ardor, ecstasy, awe and spontaneity... the very definition of Romanticism. If you believe music is “the organization of sound toward beauty,” Chopin is its greatest champion. Mueller extends this beauty with new tonalities, new rhythms, arrangements that are more like adaptations, and new works that including unique modulations and unexpected variations. "Of Two Minds" is a fascinating and rewarding addition to The Masterworks Trilogy.

Piano works by Tobin Mueller available on CDBaby:
The Masterworks Trilogy: "Of Two Minds", "Flow", "Impressions of Water and Light"
Christmas music: "Midwinter Born"
Earlier solo piano CDs: "13 Masks", "Morning Whispers"

Jazz Ensemble recordings by Tobin Mueller and collaborators:
"Come In Funky" (with Ron Carter), "Muller's Wheel" (with Woody Mankowski), "Rain Bather" (jazz octet)

Progressive Rock: "Audiocracy: Revolution's Son"
Progressive Folk/Alternative: "A Bit of Light"
The American Songbook: "Hard Place To Find" and "Song of Myself"

Search "Tobin Mueller" for more titles available at CDBaby. Check out Tobin Mueller's Official Website for more information.



to write a review

Richard Schletty

An intimate concert
I am struck by the intimacy, energy and flow of these performance recordings. I feel as if Tobin is giving me a personal concert in his living room. Familiar Chopin threads weave and mingle with Tobin's upbeat jazz impressions. This entire double album is a pleasurable listening experience, whether you know a lot or a little about Chopin.

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
One would be hard-pressed to find an artist with a more creative musical mind than Tobin Mueller’s - especially one with the playing chops to fulfill his or her vision. I was fortunate to start receiving Mueller’s CDs for review early in his recording career (2005’s "Morning Whispers" was my first) and have been more impressed and amazed at his versatility and artistry with each new release (there have been fourteen to date). "Of Two Minds: The Music of Frederic Chopin & Tobin Mueller" is a two-disc set and the third installment in a solo piano trilogy that began with "Impressions of Water and Light" (2014) followed by "Flow" (2015), explorations of the music and artwork of the French Impressionists and the music of J.S. Bach respectively. In this newest release, Disc 1 consists of interpretations of selected Chopin piano solos and Disc 2 presents original works inspired by specific Chopin Preludes.

Mueller describes his process for this album:
“I always begin by playing the piece as it is written, then replay the parts I like again and again. As I am listening to the other composer’s music, I am rewriting it in my head. With Chopin, I tried to capture a sense of improvisation that corresponds to the Romantic sensibility. I imagined that if he had written additional variations on the piece, what they would sound like? I ended by writing less jazz than I thought I would and staying closer to what I saw as his intentions. I imagined him sitting on the bench beside me, turning pages, nodding. I wanted him to approve of all of my changes. I wanted the DNA of his music to evolve into mine, the experience of his life to inform my own.” (quoted from an interview by Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold for the October 2016 issue of Fanfare magazine)

As he did with parts one and two of the Trilogy, Mueller includes extensive liner notes, this time often quoting George Sand, who may have known Chopin better than anyone else in his lifetime (1810-1849). Mueller writes about the background of the music and his own feelings about it. After reading the 16-page booklet, you can’t help but feel that you have had a glimpse into the minds of both composers. I have many favorite classical composers, but Chopin always seems to rise to the top - probably because of the emotional honesty and intensity of his music. Mueller certainly taps into that, expressing similar feelings and allowing the music to go where it leads.

Disc 1, Tobin Plays Chopin, has ten tracks based on some of Chopin’s best-known works, including two Polonaises, three Nocturnes, two Etudes, a Mazurka, a Prelude, a Berceuse, and his Fantasie-Impromptu #4 (one track is a combination of two pieces). Sometimes elegant and flowing, sometimes more raw and jazzy, Mueller dazzles with his masterful and deeply expressive playing whether performing the music as it was written or improvising. My favorite tracks are “Prelude #20 in C Minor, Op. 28/Nocturne #2 in C#, Op. Posthumous - ‘Quivering’” and “Berceuse in Db Major, Op. 27, ‘Lullaby avant Satie’.” The first is a medley of two of my favorite Chopin pieces, expressing them with sensitivity and grace - and inspiring me to go find my book of Nocturnes again! The Berceuse maintains the beauty of the original while giving it a more contemporary feel.

Disc 2, Tobin Plays Tobin, contains nine new pieces inspired by some of Chopin’s 24 Preludes and grouped into three-movement sonatas. Mueller lists which Preludes influenced the pieces - sometimes it’s obvious and sometimes not. The three sonatas are titled “Sonata of Quantum Entanglements,” “Sonata Under the Night’s Sky,” and “Sonata for Dreamers.” Rather than interpreting the original Preludes, in these nine movements, Mueller channels the creative spirit and emotional richness of Chopin’s music. Quite honestly, it is very easy to imagine that this is the kind of music Chopin would be writing if he were composing today.

If you love Chopin and are feeling a bit adventurous, be sure to check this album out! "Of Two Minds: The Music of Frederic Chopin & Tobin Mueller" is certain to be on my Favorites list of 2016.