Betty Wishart composer
Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi piano
Betty Wishart and Ravello Records present her latest album: MOODS, featuring her compositions for solo piano as performed by Jeri-Mae Astolfi. These impressionistic pieces, sparked by a swath of concrete and abstract inspirations, explore the full range of timbral textures and colors the piano offers.
MOODS follows up Wishart’s 2016 premiere solo album, PIANO SONORITIES, which also featured the Canadian-born pianist Jeri-Mae Astolfi. This new album opens with an imaginative rumination on the sounds of rain and thunder. In Phantasmagoria, Wishart employs both atonality and tonality to depict anxious sleeplessness, which is eventually eased into peaceful repose as the storm subsides. Variations on Shenandoah, as the name suggests, explores a series of variations on the famous folk tune. We hear the melody reharmonized, reimagined, and even catch a retrograde variation.
Preludes: In Memoriam is another innovative piece; each prelude recalls a historic cultural or political figure and their characteristics. The music embodies the unique personalities of people like Audrey Hepburn, Amelia Earhart, Winston Churchill, and more. Vibes is a surreal and abstract piece. Broken into three movements, the composer borrows from jazz and other styles to recreate her observations of a peaceful day at New York’s Central Park. The album concludes with Illusions. This piece uses dynamics, phrasing, tone decay, pedal techniques, and more to conjure an array of strange and wonderful sonorities. Wishart recalls waking in the dead of night to scrawl down this composition from beginning to end without revision. This raw prolific power permeates MOODS.
MOODS offers listeners an opportunity to reconsider what is possible when it comes to solo piano music. Each piece simultaneously challenges the hearer while also inviting him or her to a higher perceptive plane—if they choose to accept the invitation, they are richly rewarded. Evocative and highly inventive, this latest release from Wishart makes a powerful artistic statement and will no doubt prefigure even more midnight compositions to come.