LUBOMYR MELNYK :
LEGEND, and SONG OF GALADRIEL
”An epic masterpiece by one of the most brilliant and extraordinary pianists of our time…. ”
Continuous Music for Solo Piano from:
”SONGS OUT OF RIVENDELL”
I n the ”Song of Galadriel” Melnyk has created one of the great epics of piano music in our century, a work of visionary character, filled with haunting and delicate melodies that evoke the mystical world of Tolkien's ”Lord Of The Rings”.
LUBOMYR MELNYK : The SONG OF GALADRIEL
- Continuous Music for Solo Piano -
T he phenomenal piano music of Lubomyr Melnyk has become something of a quiet legend in the music world. His extraordinary technique has startled the music <establishment> by creating an entirely unprecedented literature for the piano -- an historic renovation of what the piano is really all about. In one sense, it can be said that Melnyk has ”re-created” the piano, for his music goes to the soul of the piano like no other music before him. It is as though he was born for the sole purpose of giving mankind a new vision of the piano, to show us what human technique can do with this amazing instrument.
M elnyk's virtuosity is beyond description. He is certainly one of the most brilliant and extraordinary pianists of our time. Somehow he has put aside the normal considerations of flesh and bone, replacing them with an airy fluidity that swims with ease through passages that defy the normal standards of piano technique. With massive arpeggiated chords spread over the keyboard, Melnyk creates a symphony of sound that seems to swell organically out of the piano itself. One gradually forgets about the musician playing, one feels rather that a magic instrument is singing, of its own will, a melody of mysterious eloquence.
Y et all the while, Melnyk disclaims the appropriateness of such words as ”virtuoso” and all the other usual words of pianistic mastery, preferring to credit the remarkable accomplishments --- such as being able to play at speeds of over 19 notes-per-second in each hand, simultaneously achieving 39 individual notes per second with both hands ( a normal one-hour performance by Melnyk can entail approximately 90,000 individual notes ! ) entirely to the technique itself, saying that it is the Continuous Technique which develops the body into such capacities. Doing so, he draws attention to the hitherto ignored distinction between ”the player” and ”the technique-of-piano-playing” itself. For Melnyk, it is the Continuous Technique that is so remarkable, not himself.
I n the ”Song of Galadriel” Melnyk has created one of the great epics of piano music in our century, a masterpiece of visionary character, filled with haunting and delicate melodies that evoke the mystical world of Tolkien's ”Lord Of The Rings”. Anyone who has read this great work will at once recognise the name of Galadriel, the sacred queen of the Elven-folk. In Tolkien, the race of the Elves, and that of the Dwarves and of the Men of Westernesse, are the last sanctuary of all that man holds noble, good, and glorious. The pageant of their history is a story of heroism and battle against the solemn Enemy who brings oppression and the collapse of the human spirit in his wake.
A lthough there is no specific ”program” within the music, there is a general reference to the worlds of Rivendell and Lothlorien, as well as the representative figures of Galadriel and Aragorn, with music suggestive of the metaphorical content of Tolkien's message. Adding to the difficulty of defining any ”program” is the fact that his entire piece is part of a rather large collection of solo piano works called ”Songs Out Of Rivendell”, which all bear the same approximation of relevance to Tolkien's elven-lore and the Faery Realm.
T he complete ”Song of Galadriel” is actually made up of two ”separate” parts: ”LEGEND” and ”SONG of GALADRIEL”. In 1982, the original core material for this work was commissioned at the request of Mrs. Anna Balan, one of the composer's supporters and a patron of the general arts. It was, at that time, a short 10-minute work of purely melodic nature. Finding the scope of the music too broad and suggestive for such a narrow time span, Melnyk began to build on this basic part (it was to become the final section of the piece) and expanded the music, eventually adding the formerly separate ”Legend” material into the whole. He worked on this piece throughout 1983, and after several additions of material, completed this final version (recorded in its entirety on this L.P.) in 1984.
I t is one of the composer's most deeply personal and melodic works so far, and received particularly loving care, for he spent over a year in touching up its smallest details. One can infer that this piece had a specially intense relevance for the composer and pianist. Melnyk himself commented that: ”I feel the music as many separate yet interwoven concepts --- a) as the actual song sung by Galadriel, and, (b) it is about her song, ie. the effect of the beauty of her singing, its meaning, and the experience of hearing it, and (c) it is about those things of which she sings, and (d) it IS those things of which she sings. Thus, it is about her sorrow, the heroism, and the Noble Realm of the soul, and at the same time, it IS her sorrow and all those things which Tolkien awakes within us ---”
J:R:R: TOLKIEN: ”…..At first the beauty of the melodies and the interwoven words in the Elven tongue, even though he understood them little, held him in a spell, as soon as he began to attend to them. Almost it seemed that the words took shape, and visions of far lands and bright things that he had never yet imagined opened
out before him, and the firelit hall became like a golden mist above seas of foam that sighed upon the margins of the world. Then the enchantment became more and more dreamlike, until he felt that an endless river of swelling gold and silver was flowing over him, too multitudinous for its pattern to be comprehended: it became part of the throbbing air about him, and it drenched and drowned him. Swiftly, he sank under its shining weight into a deep realm of sleep. There, he wandered long in a dream of music that turned into running water … ”
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