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Piano Media on Between the Keys November 2nd and 3rd

The title of week’s episode of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Virgil Thomson Award winning program Between the Keys, hosted by the Classical Network’s Artist-in-Reisdence Jed Distler, is called Piano Media. It stems from an iconic piano work by Toshi Ichiyanagi, where the right hand persistently repeats a rapid ostinato figure while all kinds of different things occur in the left hand. 

This piece of music was popular among pianists specializing in New Music back in the 1970s and 1980s, and frequently turned up on programs devoted to contemporary keyboard fare. 

“However, my  challenge was to frame a program around and leading up to this amazing work,” Distler says. “I looked for pieces that featured persistent rhythmic patterns and textural gestures of various types, such as trills, ostinatos, arpeggios, and so forth. Yet I also looked for stylistic contrast and variety.”

The resulting playlist has something for everyone, with works by Fanny Mendelssohn, Frederic Chopin, Claude Debussy, Stacy Garrop, Carlos Gustavino, John Coltrane, Sergei Rachmaninov,  and, of course Toshi Ichiyanagi. “It may seem like a motley musical crew on paper,” Distler says, “yet I ‘test drived’ the program on my iPod on a long walk the other day. I have to be immodest; I was impressed by just how well and how organically each selection led into the next. It made my walk much more eventful!"

Tune in to Between the Keys Episode 332 “Piano Media” on Tuesday night November 2nd at 10, with a rebroadcast Wednesday November at noon, exclusively on The Classical Network and WWFM.org.