Pianist and composer Haskell Small brings his ‘Journey In Silence’ tour back to the West Coast, playing concerts this week in Santa Cruz and at The Flight Deck in Downtown Oakland. His most recent project, some of which he’ll be playing on tour, are pieces based on the traditional Book of Hours which contain prayers appropriate to different times of day.
There’s more information about the tour on Haskell Small‘s website.
His last tour included performances of music by Mompou, the Musica Callada, which translates as ‘silent music’. And that’s been an idea and ideal he’s been playing with for a while now. “This has been a motif in my life and my music. Last time I was on this tour, I did the Mompou Musica Callada, which I undeniably admit is an influence for my own piece I’m doing this time, several of my own pieces… It certainly picks up on the soundscape, the textures, the feeling of searching for the quietest possible sounds.” Although not a direct translation of the text into music, he does venture to express the moods of the various times of day in the life of a monk. “Starting in the middle of the night. What we call the middle of the night, what the monks call ‘morning’. No sounds, nothing, maybe some birds, it’s such an incredible time of day, and then cycling through sunrise and praise and bells, and sounds of chants… All of that is stuff that’s fascinated me.” And, he says, he tries to stretch the expressive nature of the sound of a piano in the opposite direction than many other players. “Playing right on the edge of sound, hardly speaking, I find that the piano can convey a wonderful mood.”