Simon Tedeschi is nothing if not versatile. He has performed with and for almost everyone of note. The website of this multi-talented, award-winning pianist presents a dizzying array of concerts in upcoming months: solo performances, collaborations with other artists and ensembles and appearances at festivals and masterclasses. His recordings include Mozart, Grieg and Tchaikovsky, as well as two Gershwin albums and a classical/jazz collaboration with Kevin Hunt, whose work ‘A natural sequence’ is the longest piece on this current CD.
The finest ‘jazzers’ composing in Australia
Tedeschi has gathered together works by some of the finest ‘jazzers’ composing in Australia and the result is what he describes as a ‘self-portrait’, for he was given a free hand in selection. This is Simon Tedeschi in contemplative mood, for the pieces, while differing greatly, all share a gentle and questing sensibility. His liner notes reveal further about his profound understanding and wide-ranging musical interests.
Mark Isaacs gives a quiet, low, reflective opening
There are five pieces by Mark Isaacs on the album, including the title work. ‘Barcarolle’ is a quiet, low, reflective opening to the CD, giving the music room to breathe before branching out into a higher, jauntier mood. ‘Nocturne’, appropriately, presents the quietest start of all the pieces and continues in almost elegiac mood. ‘Have one more’ features insistent chords from the left hand giving a driving pulse, against expansive right hand. ‘Waltz’ is again reflective, but brings a sprightly sentiment to the pieces, ending on a questioning note. ‘Tender earth’, the title piece, is aptly named, as it suits a slow and exploratory frame of mind, as if searching for answers and settling in to contemplate the beauty that surrounds us.
Evan Lohning’s ‘Evanshually’ is invested with a spaciousness, providing room to move and think. Rippling high notes play out against a measured pace. ‘Prepare to be’ is Bill Risby in joyful mood, with a strong drive evident throughout.
Mike Nock’s rolling chords, choppy chords and rippling chords
Tedeschi has selected three pieces by Mike Nock. ‘Morning reverie’ has rolling chords in the left hand while above, the right hand is doing glorious things evocative of a gradually appearing sun, followed by variations that build to a final crescendo and fade. ‘Closet in the skeleton’ is the shortest work in the collection, but has much material, very effectively used. It has a bright start, with choppy chords punctuated by witty flourishes. The full range of the keyboard is employed throughout. For me this was a standout piece. ‘Wanaka dreaming’ has a very quiet, moody start and a steady rate of progress with a succession of rippling chords.
Kevin Hunt’s layers of richly textured sound
Kevin Hunt’s ‘A natural sequence’, at twenty minutes, fills a third of the total time on the CD and is an especial joy to listen to. Hunt creates many moods and layers of richly textured sound. For me it evokes thoughts of warmly recalled moments and keenly anticipated events to come.
Tedeschi’s thoughtful program notes add greatly to the listener’s understanding of the richly inventive pieces on this CD.
Buy Simon Tedeschi’s Tender Earth