One Dark Night I Left My Silent House

One Dark Night I Left My Silent House

One Dark Night I Left My Silent House finds two distinctive musicians engaging in a set of hard-to-classify improvisations. Pianist Marilyn Crispell, who played with Anthony Braxton for many years and also performs contemporary classical pieces, has more recently turned to a pared-down approach in her work. Philosopher and clarinetist David Rothenberg’s writing about nature includes Why Birds Sing and Thousand Mile Song, a book about playing music with whales; he also was the editor of the wonderful journal Terra Nova. On much of One Dark Night, Rothenberg plays bass clarinet, an instrument on which he displays an exquisite tone. In addition to acoustic piano, Crispell utilizes a soundboard that was taken out of a baby grand, and percussion. Morton Feldman, free jazz, and the European improv tradition spring to mind listening to this quietly gripping album. There is something pure about the music presented here: a sense of in-the-moment exploration of sound for sound’s sake. The listener is left to soak up the timbre of sensitively struck material, the changing shape of a single woodwind note, and other remarkable nuances.

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