Preisner: 10 Easy Pieces for Piano

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WORKS: 10 Easy Pieces for Piano
PERFORMER: Leszek Mozdzer (piano)
Movie fans may already have heard Zbigniew Preisner’s music without knowing it. He was the composer of choice for the late Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski, and is now regarded as Poland’s leading film composer. His knack for setting a vivid atmosphere in an instant is evident within the first few seconds of the first piece here, and his ability to sustain or alter it is equally evident throughout the nine pieces that follow. While I was hooked, and continued to enjoy this improvisatory-sounding tour of a shifting emotional landscape, there will be many who may find much of it intolerably slow-moving and superficial. It’s not easy to describe, but if pressed, I would say that it’s an improbably cohesive amalgam of styles which variously suggests Erik Satie, Michael Nyman, Keith Jarrett, Michel Legrand, Gurdjieff/Hartmann and a few others, with echoes of the Pachelbel Canon, Bartók’s music for children, Debussy’s orientalism, Prokofiev at his gentlest, Charlie Chaplin and so on. The jazz-oriented playing of Leszek Mozdzer is impeccably sensitive, resourceful, rhythmically buoyant, tonally seductive and consistently euphonious from start to finish, and is well-served by the sound engineer’s perfectly judged acoustic. I won’t be at all surprised if this release becomes a major hit. Jeremy Siepmann