Wednesday, August 8, 2007
La Monte Young - The Well-Tuned Piano
The Well-Tuned Piano is La Monte Young's magnum opus, the work in which many of his theories are crystallized and laid out for the listener. It's a massive solo piano performance, lasting a little over five hours, during which Young displays virtually every combination of chords that he deems special, seguing one into another. The first thing that strikes the listener is the sound of the piano itself, a Bosendorfer that has been tuned in just intonation. The sounds of the notes themselves are fascinating and, to Western ears, exotic enough to compel attention; one hears harmonies that sound strangely alien yet apropos. Young keeps the sustain pedal pressed almost throughout, the harmonics surrounding each chord like a cloud.