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splendid > reviews > 12/30/2005
Gary Noland
Gary Noland
Postludes for Piano, Volume One
North Pacific


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Pickthanks and Prickmedainties"

Buy me now
Composer and pianist Gary Noland is into "ha ha music" -- that is, classical music played for laughs, a genre famously (or infamously, depending on your taste in humor) popularized by Peter Schikele, also known as P.D.Q. Bach. This collection of solo piano music, identified as postludes rather than the more traditional preludes designation, indicates that, despite occasionally forcing the musical jokes (and writing far too many tortured puns in his liner notes), Noland has both the writing and playing chops to compensate for his painful musical humor.

Dedicated to the late music theorist David Lewin, "Philomathetique" is a witty trope on the music of Richard Strauss, with characterful motives and abundant quick modulations. "Effete Stinkopations" is a deft, splashy bit of ragtime, while "Pickthanks and Prickmedainties" is a light-hearted romp played at a dizzying tempo and "Psychonipptions" (dedicated to composer Henry Martin) is a send-up of 20th Century French music. Overall, Postludes is a mixed bag, but when Noland focuses on playing the piano well rather than simply playing for laughs, his compelling artistry shines through.



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