Thursday, May 10, 2007

George Winston

One of the less supercilious new-age pianists around is the incomparable George Winston, who has chosen to work within a conventional, simple framework, steering clear of grandiose, overstuffed arrangements, in favour of unadorned, almost austere pieces shorn of any self-righteous posturing. This is in direct contrast to other new age artists, who do convey an invariable sense of ennui through monotonous, rote compositions and the shoehorning of pretentious metaphysical "concepts" into their music.

Winston's primary, simple approach to performing is to tap a neo-classical, starkly minimalist vein, turning out surprisingly ear-friendly melodies that recall the more accessible moments of romantic-era composers like Chopin, Liszt and Brahms, which he expertly melds with his own pastoral, folkish sensibilities.

The self-described "rural folk piano" exponent has enjoyed a lengthy and reasonably successful career, which started in the early 1970s, and culminated with his highly acclaimed trio of seasonal-themed works – "Autumn", "Winter Into Spring" and "December" – which virtually set the benchmark for all solo-instrumental albums to come. Check out the full-length version of the impressionistic "Colors/Dance", set to a series of wonderfully and expertly shot images taken during a road trip in Canada, right here.


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