I Still Play

Jeremy Denk, Timo Andres, et al (piano) (Nonesuch)

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CD i-still-play-545

I Still Play
Piano Works by Nico Muhly, Timo Andres, Louis Andriessen, John Adams, Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Brad Mehldau, Steve Reich, Pat Metheny, Donnacha Dennehy and Randy Newman
Jeremy Denk, Timo Andres et al (piano)
Nonesuch 75597920864   36:45 mins

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While some might receive a carriage clock or decanter to mark their retirement, in I Still Play Bob Hurwitz has been given the ultimate gift. Hurwitz, who recently stepped back from his long-term position at the helm of Nonesuch, is the dedicatee of these 11 new pieces, each written by composers closely associated with the US label. The album’s title is taken from John Adams’s contribution – a compact set of variations – performed by Jeremy Denk. It’s Adams, but not as we know him: romantic, occasionally expansive, melodies mix with rhythmic, jumping passages. In Philip Glass’s Evening Song No. 2 we’re in more recognisable territory, with a clear nod to Metamorphosis. This and the majority of the tracks are played by Timo Andres, who also composed the etude Wise Words.

The collection was intended for Hurwitz to play himself; these are intimate, direct pieces, best suited to the home upright (they took on a particular poignancy during lockdown). That said, the cycle has been performed in concert – at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2017 – and Andres has released some of the miniatures via YouTube, in lieu of a recital that was due to take place at Carnegie Hall.

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Claire Jackson