From Somewhere

Laurie Altman composer

Clipper Erickson piano

Release Date: September 6, 2024
Catalog #: NV6635
Format: Digital

FROM SOMEWHERE by composer Laurie Altman and pianist Clipper Erickson finds common ground between the global and the personal. Altman’s compositions — ranging from sonatas and fugues to heartfelt solos — draw on diverse musical influences, including jazz, classical, and boogie. Through music, Altman contemplates the devastating war in Aleppo, the impact of COVID-19, and the death of George Floyd, as well as the most meaningful personal relationships in his own life. At the outset of this recording project, Altman considered where his music comes from; the album’s title is his cheeky reply. Anchored by Erickson’s exceptional piano performances, FROM SOMEWHERE transcends the boundaries of classical music to make the personal universal and vice versa.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
DISC 1
01 Prelude 17 (1991) Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 2:19
02 Preludes and Fugues Set I (2019): Prelude in C Major Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 6:39
03 Preludes and Fugues Set I (2019): Fugue in E Flat Minor Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 4:17
04 Preludes and Fugues Set I (2019): Fugue in C Sharp Minor Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 6:28
05 Preludes and Fugues Set I (2019): Prelude in E Major Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 6:28
06 Preludes and Fugues Set I (2019): Prelude in D Major Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 2:47
07 Preludes and Fugues Set I (2019): Fugue in F Major Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 3:13
08 That Day (2020) - In Memory of George Floyd Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 6:56
09 Piano Sonata #11 (2018): I. Aggressively, Expressively Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 13:53
10 Piano Sonata #11 (2018): II. Chorale and Fugue Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 6:48
DISC 2
01 Piano Sonata # 10 “Aleppo” (2017): Ruins Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 6:26
02 Piano Sonata # 10 “Aleppo” (2017): Center Point, Devastation Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 9:24
03 Piano Sonata # 10 “Aleppo” (2017): Scherzo Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 4:20
04 Piano Sonata # 10 “Aleppo” (2017): Dies Irae Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 3:38
05 Soliloquy (1997) Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 6:01
06 Preludes and Fugues Set II (2019): Prelude in G Flat Major Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 6:14
07 Preludes and Fugues Set II (2019): Prelude in A Major Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 1:22
08 Preludes and Fugues Set II (2019): Fugue in G Major Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 2:20
09 Preludes and Fugues Set II (2019): Fugue in B Flat Minor Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 3:53
10 Preludes and Fugues Set II (2019): Fugue in A Flat Minor Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 2:08
11 Preludes and Fugues Set II (2019): Fugue in B Major / Minor Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 6:14
12 Boogie, Movement I, Sonata # 8 (2014) Laurie Altman Clipper Erickson, piano 6:03

Recorded November 25-28, 2023 at La Prairie Cultural Centre of the Thiébaud-Frey Foundation in Bellmund/Biel, Switzerland
Session Producer, Engineer, Editing, Mixing & Mastering Małgorzata Albińska-Frank

Photography Jeannine Hummel, Daniel Brändli

Executive Producer Bob Lord

VP of A&R Brandon MacNeil
A&R Danielle Sullivan

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Aidan Curran
Digital Marketing Manager Brett Iannucci

Artist Information

Laurie Altman

Composer

Laurie Altman was born in 1944 and raised in New York City. He attended the Mannes College of Music in New York where he majored in composition and studied most notably with William Sydeman and Lester Trimble. Altman has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including the Mason Gross Fellowship, a Lincoln Center Composers Forum Award, a Woodrow Wilson Composers residency Fellowship, and a University Professors Citation of Excellence from Tufts University in Boston. A Resident Composer at Westminster Choir College/Rider University in Princeton NJ for many years, Altman in addition pursued an extensive career as a performing jazz pianist with his quintet in New York City, and other venues including clubs and festivals in Russia, Helsinki, and Germany. Since moving to Switzerland in 2010, he has had two European premieres at the Musikverein in Vienna, as well as performances in Zurich.

Clipper Erickson

Pianist

Described as “one of the finest pianists of his generation…a consummate musician” by Fanfare, Clipper Erickson has dedicated much of his long career to bringing new works to life. An enthusiastic musical explorer, he has also championed lesser-known works of the past. Erickson made his debut at age 19 in Los Angeles as soloist with the Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra, followed by studies at The Juilliard School, Yale University, and Indiana University. While at Indiana, Clipper trained with the great British pianist John Ogdon, whose dedication to the performance of new music and lesser-known works of the past inspired Clipper to follow in his footsteps.

Małgorzata Albińska-Frank

producer & engineer

Małgorzata Albińska-Frank is a Polish sound engineer and music producer. She works internationally in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Italy as a freelancer. Following her fascination with classical music, she specialized in recording and producing music from the Middle Ages to Contemporary Music. Room acoustics and its influence on the sound, color, and location of sound sources play a unique role in her productions. Since the very beginning of the idea of three-dimensional sound recording and reproduction, she has been intensively involved in working with the 3D Audio format. One of the results is Laurie Altman’s album FROM SOMEWHERE, recorded with 3D Audio multi-channel microphone technology and mixed in stereo format. This recording method and post-processing gives the piano sound a special spatiality and color that can also be heard on the album.

Notes

As a composer and as a pianist, my instrument has possessed an enduring connection to almost every composition I’ve created. From early Bach impressions, through the stride/boogie piano stylings of Meade Lux Lewis, the beauty and intimacy of Bill Evans, and the precise and deeply evolving creations of Glenn Gould, the piano remains my home. Regardless of the broad discography of my other chamber and orchestral creations, a seat at the piano has always been the starting point where it all begins. Incessant “noodlings,” born of years as a jazz pianist and improviser, has, with the piano before me, pushed forward ideas, harmonic, rhythmic, structural, and even the overall musical character and story that I wanted to tell.

FROM SOMEWHERE emerges from an answer I gave to a music critic during an interview when he asked me “where does all this music of yours come from?”

I responded, “from somewhere.”

The album is a deeply layered work, from piano sonatas, to fugues and preludes, and individual stand alone solo works. As a composer, I find myself to be a heart creator, not a head one. I believe that music needs to tell a story, and to achieve that end, musical form, without substance, has no place in my vocabulary. Precision of feeling is the path I follow. Making the personal universal is my mantra. Compositional anonymity can never be universal, for “we understand the universal through the personal.” (Painter, Robert Motherwell).

Ongoing social events were the contributing inspirational content of both Sonatas 10 and 11. In the case of Sonata #10, the war in Aleppo, its different degrees of destruction, and impact on the civilian population provided the backdrop for its compositional story. Particularly in the second movement and the end of the third movement is this mood and character most evident. Sonata #11 is a COVID-19 related work, for its impact on the entire world population created moods of panic, fear, sadness, and loss. The final chorale and fugue mixes this sense of chaos and loss with a sense of hope and renewal.

The “Twelve Preludes and Fugues” were arbitrary as to their number… (it ended up being that way), and whether they were to be major or minor in conception. Furthermore, I chose to assiduously avoid giving titles to each piece. That should be within the domain of the listener. In fact the only connecting fiber of the work is the pitch/intervallic shaping, namely: up a minor third, back a major second for each set.

That Day is dedicated to the memory of the late George Floyd. Written the night of his passing, it was the only way I could find some inner peace in the face of this unspeakable tragedy.

Prelude 17 is a work from 1991 and has always remained a favorite of mine. Its tempo, flow, continuity, and energy within such a short time frame was exactly what I had hoped to achieve. “Boogie,” the first movement of Piano Sonata #8 provided a unique way of beginning the piece. In addition, having played and listened to Boogie Piano over many years, it would have been impossible to not, at some point, inculcate that feel into a more classically oriented composition.

Soliloquy is a love song for my wife, Jeannine. Playing it for her early on in our relationship solidified for her the fact that I was more than just a composer with great blue eyes!

Finally, I do hope you enjoy the stories, mood and feelings in FROM SOMEWHERE.

One need not understand the construction of a musical work to fully enjoy its content. So enjoy and may the ride be a meaningful one.
Words cannot express my deepest thanks to pianist Clipper Erickson and producer Małgorzata Albińska-Frank. Their gifts, talents, and deep insights are in constant display throughout the album, and for that I am eternally grateful.

— Laurie Altman, Spiez Switzerland, winter, 2024