T.Kaori Kitao (from CD liner notes)
November 26, 2003
Motion picture in its infancy was sometimes called photoplay. The implication
was that it captured and reproduced faithfully a live performance.
We know better today. We accept film as an art in its own right,
not theatre recorded on film. It is an art of framing and editing,
that is to say, composing photographed images and selecting, sequencing,
and layering audiovisual performance units. In independent filmmaking
the film-maker is often at once the producer, director, cinematographer,
sound technician, editor, and often also the writer of the screen
play to start out with.
In this CD, the virgin issue of the Reflex Editions of his founding,
Adam Grabois is the producer of the music he performs. He supervised
the performance with his pianist John Nauman and then recorded and
edited it in collaboration with his sound engineer, Da-Hong Seetoo.
Through this process he also personally attended to every technical
detail from the start to the end. This level of artistic responsibility
is unusual in the production of recorded music; musicians normally
relinquish their control once they leave the recording studio. Instead,
like an independent filmmaker, Grabois would have as nearly complete
control as possible of the music he brings to the listeners. Only
then would he be assured that his recorded music fully represents
his encompassing musical idea. It is as though he were conducting
his own performance. To Grabois this is a matter of artistic integrity.
performance, like live theatre, addresses a specific given audience.
energy resides in that interaction. Recorded music,
like film, must assume an abstract audience which may be invisible
but it is no less real. Grabois understands this challenge as an
opportunity for heightened expressiveness, sharp refinement, and
emotional immediacy. So, he works personally on all the variables
in the recording studio: positioning the microphones, instruments,
and seating this way and that, sitting on a special platform he built
for himself to play on, room temperature, humidity and acoustics
-- all the components of the auditory mise-en-scène. He plays
his music for the listener positioned in the optimum seat in the
ideal concert hall to achieve as immediate and expressive a performance
conceivable. All these efforts are a part of his performance guided
by the same intelligence and sensitivity that he pours into live
performance. Digital technology serves him to make recording into
a performance that is uniquely his own.
repertoire he chose for this first recording shows his interest
a wide range of style, technique and timbre. The
first piece, 7 Variations in Eb major on "Bei Männern,
welche Liebe fühlen" from Mozart's The Magic Flute, WoO
46 (1801), shows off Beethoven's art of variations which playfully
makes us chase Mozart lurking underneath Beethoven. Debussy's Sonata
for Cello and Piano (1915) allows the instrumentalists a full palette
of subtly changing colors and textures with memorable pizzicato passages
for the cello. The last piece, the Sonata in G minor for Cello and
Piano, op. 19 (1901) by Sergei Rachmaninov, by contrast, is a work
of grand gestures with sweeping melodies and sonorous harmonies,
bathed in the composer's hallmark melancholy.
-T. Kaori Kitao
T. Kaori Kitao, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor Emerita of Art
History, taught courses on architecture and film as well as Renaissance
and Baroque art at Swarthmore College. She was born in Japan and
describes herself as a balletomane and opera fanatic.
here to visit the web site of T.Kaori Kitao.