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Piano Improvisations in the Romantic Classical Style[CD]
~ Michael Solomont
Dear Listeners, I was born in Boston in 1934. In my teens and early twenties I studied piano and composition with my teacher and great uncle, Julius Chaloff. He was a marvelous pianist and a fine teacher, and of course, he wanted me to become a great pianist, too! However, as is often the case with young folks, other things started replacing my musical interests and I drifted away from my musical studies into the working world. Then, in my middle twenties, I moved to California and became employed in the retail industry, where for the next forty years or so I became involved with marriage, children, grandchildren and few greatgrandchildren, too! It was only after I retired (I took an early retirement at 62) that I started to improvise. I had just gotten a digital piano which allowed me to play silently, using my headphones so as not to disturb my family, (something that I know they appreciated!) The digital piano also allowed me to record what I was improvising so it would not be lost. I found that I was able to improvise a stream of melodies, sometimes in multiple voices, as long as I didn't think and plan too much as I was playing! I can only say that what you hear is sincere and comes from myself spontaneously, without much conscious thought. (Of course most of the people who know me will tell you I do most things without much conscious thought...but that is another story!) Since I love Bach and the Baroque style and also Chopin, Rachmaninoff and the whole Romantic period, much of what I improvise is in those styles, with an occasional popular, jazz or ultra-modern piece. Since I don't censor what I play as I play it, you may occasionally hear a musical phrase that may sound somewhat familiar or a piece that begins in one key and ends in another. This, however, is unintentional and is the result of the free association of musical ideas that is required for good improvisation. One other thing: Digital pianos are very versatile and allow one to make changes in the recording. Although I have made very few changes, I have taken the liberty of changing tempos at times. I did this mostly when I was improvising a selection that I felt was difficult and should be performed at a faster speed. When improvising such piece I felt that the final performance would be much better if I played it more slowly and accurately, with proper shading and touch, and then raised the tempo later to the proper level. In this way I can create what I hear and have a quality performance without the mistakes which are unavoidable when one tries to play a piece of music faster than he or she is able to play it! Improvisations are truly one-chance, one-time-only performances and there is no opportunity to practice what you are going to play. Improvisation is such a mysterious process and so dependent on 'being in the zone' and 'not getting in one's own way'...however that is what a performer must strive for in order to improvise well...and I hope to live up to that challenge! With that said, I sincerely hope that you enjoy my improvisations, for that is their purpose after all! Respectfully, Michael Solomont.
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