“More than 20 years ago, the music critic John Rockwell described Ben Johnston in the New York Times as “one of the best non-famous composers this country has to offer.” What has changed is that Johnston is now, I’d suggest, our BEST non-famous composer.” – Mark Swed, LA Times
In this exquisite chamber music recital, Ben Johnston sets the provocative texts of Rumi [the medieval mystic Sufi poet] in the pure tunings & modes of the Middle East. While THE TAVERN tells of an initiate, intoxicated with the possibilities of a new spiritual life, PARABLE offers a delightful story about a Mouse & a Frog. Rumi uses the time-honored technique of teaching by example, using the relationship between these two tiny creatures, one of the land and the other of the water, to reveal truths about the human experience.
REVISED STANDARDS – Inspired by the midcentury songbook of Billie Holiday, Johnston tells us, “In jazz improvisation, the soloist has very great freedom to play with intonation…In my just-tuned jazz, spontaneity is disciplined in a new way so that all players are creating both melodic and harmonic microtonal innovation that can vary greatly in how it affects the listener, but always innovates in both melody and harmony.”
All of these premiere recordings are performed in Just Intonation.
“Stunning” — LA Times