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Samuel Reinhard

For Piano and Shō

Label: Elsewhere

Format: CD

Genre: Experimental

In stock

"I've long been interested in exploring the elongation of the piano's decay. The shō's clean harmonics offered an enticing texture to incorporate into my experiments with slow-moving piano works." - Samuel Reinhard

To be slow and to be still: through his ongoing explorations of repetition, New York–based Swiss composer Samuel Reinhard extends this invitation to both listeners and the musicians who perform his compositions. 'For Piano and Shō' brings together Haruna Higashida, a Tokyo-based gagaku performer active in contemporary music, and Copenhagen-based Canadian pianist Paul Jacob Fossum, who also performed on Reinhard’s 2023 release 'Two Pianos and String Trio'. The album’s two pieces were recorded between Copenhagen and Tokyo, where Reinhard was in residence in 2023.

In the first piece, recorded in a multitrack session, three pianos pursue and repeat their respective thread-like motifs, slowly encircling each other, each at their own pace. The pianos are accompanied by three shōs, playing individual notes and chords from a circumscribed pool of material and providing harmonic "reflections" of the melodic motifs played by the pianos. Together, the resulting material is ever-changing. In the second piece, a piano moves through a trio of figures—an arpeggio, an improvisation, a chord—for the duration of the performance. Each iteration of this sequence is accompanied by a single shō, which freely selects and plays a note or chord, emerging from the piano's first figure and disappearing into the third.

Throughout, players hold notes through touch or breath until sound decays. Small improvisations, a piano note coming into contact with the delicate asymmetry of the shō’s intervals, dissolve into pools of deepening quiet. Reinhard has remarked that, by giving performers freedom to play less or more within a given duration, they are able to “do nothing and just listen for periods of time as they are performing, creating a kinship between the performer and the listener—where both engage in a deep and concentrated way of listening.” Here, the shared act of listening, completed by the piece's audience, leaves its mark as an afterglow—a sensation of time stretched, all the details and feelings that emerge from a world slowed.

Cat. number: elsewhere 032
Year: 2024

Compositions by Samuel Reinhard
Haruna Higashida – shō
Paul Jacob Fossum – piano

Recorded at Studio Dede in Tokyo, Japan by Akihito Yoshikawa, and at The Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen, Denmark by Juan Felipe Arce Bayona

Mixed by Samuel Reinhard
Mastered by Taku Unami

Cover art by Jeff Rossi
CD designed and produced by Yuko Zama

These recordings were made possible with the generous support of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.