Klopotec Label | IZK CD 076| January 2018
Piano – Elisabeth Harnik
1 Every Time He Punched A Hole [To Conlon Nancarrow] 8:23
2 Ragged 3:41
3 From Jaw To Ear 5:39
4 As The Crow Flies North [To Jeanne Lee] 5:33
5 Flow And Construction [To Anthony Braxton] – 1st Part 3:37
6 Flow And Construction [To Anthony Braxton] – 2nd Part 7:49
7 Flow And Construction [To Anthony Braxton] – 3rd Part 8:13
8 Flow And Construction [To Anthony Braxton] – 4th Part 5:13
more Infos and sound on KLOPOTEC
Track 1/2/3/4 recorded at Reiterkaserne, Graz, Austria in September 2015
“Flow and construction” recorded in concert at CUBUS, Graz, Austria in December 2015
Artwork– Nicola Guazzaloca
Mastered – Iztok Zupan
Mixed – Heimo Puschnigg
Music – Elisabeth Harnik
Producer – Elisabeth Harnik
Recorded – Alexander Stankovski (tracks: 5 to 8), Heimo Puschnigg (tracks: 1 to 4)
Review by Eyal Hareuveni (The Free Jazz Collective)
Elisabeth Harnik – Ways Of My Hands: Music for Piano (Klopotec, 2018) *****
Ways Of My Hand suggests another side of Harnik. Her improvisations transform instantly into compositions that reflect her intimate and deep knowledge of the many histories of jazz, avant-garde, art rock and improvised music of the last century and distill her strong, idiosyncratic voice. The five compositions were recorded in September and December 2015.
The opening “Every Time He Punched A Hole [To Conlon Nancarrow]” refers to scholar Robert Wiley’s saying about the American composer (1912-1997). Every time that Nancarrow punched the notes for his player piano études “the world got more interesting”. Harnik plays her prepared piano and not the mechanical player piano but manages to create a similar, dramatic and quite enigmatic sense of hyper-kinetic energy. The short pieces “Ragged” and “From jaw to ear” suggest the bold and methodical manner in which Harnik reconstructs and re-invents the tonal range of the piano, exploring his wooden body timbral qualities as extending the percussive sounds of its strings.
“As The Crow Flies North [To Jeanne Lee]”, Harnik emotional homage to the American vocalist-poet-composer (1939-2000), is an almost silent meditation on fragile, transparent sounds and overtones. The four-parts suite “Flow And Construction [To Anthony Braxton]” is, naturally, the most complex composition here. The fractured, rhythmical and melodic elements of this suite may flow in an erratic, eccentric ways but do gravitate into delicate, arresting structures with their own, inner logic and fascinating architecture, expressing a myriad of sounds, feelings and textures, from soft and gentle to the rough and dense ones.
A true, masterful work of art.
Review by Ken Waxman (Jazzword)
Ways of My Hands Klopotec IZK CD 076
Joëlle Léandre/Elisabeth Harnik
Tender Music TROST TR 172
From her base in Graz, pianist Elisabeth Harnik has spent the past few years enhancing her career as an improviser playing with sophisticated fellow Austrians as well as visitors, including Ken Vandermark and Alison Blunt. These recent CDs capture some of her most challenging work: Ways of My Hand is a mature demonstration of in-the-moment solo playing, while Tender Music exposes Harnik to the not-so-tender-mercies of French bassist Joëlle Léandre who has been furrowing the improvisational fields for years.
On her own Harnik doesn’t shy away from listing her influences, dedicating a track each to singer Jeanne Lee and composer Conlon Nancarrow, and a four-part suite to composer/reedist Anthony Braxton. “As The Crow Flies North”, her Lee dedication, is an exercise in sustained languidness, extracting appropriate emotion from nearly-not-there string buzzing and juddering string preparations, concluding with suggestive soundboard echoes. Using an acoustic, unprepared instrument on “Every Time He Punched a Hole”, the Nancarrow tribute, Harnik approximates the cascading note billows he drew from a player piano, with key clusters encompassing thickened low pitches and clanking high ones, which crisscross one another. While suggesting a limitless flow of key note textures she also ends abruptly as if the perforated roll had run out.
Befitting the honoree, “Flow and Construction” for Braxton, is more complex. Squirming and scampering the deepening sections evolve into crunches and complex high-frequency glissandi that are both recital ready and reflective. When tremolo chording divides into sharpened single notes, the case for appreciating the strummed piano-harp qualities of the instrument are made and completed with sharpened echoes. Displaying (Morton) Feldman-like chamber music resonations and multiple rhythms splashes, narrow textures band and are swept away with conclusive inevitability.
As Léandre is constantly animated, there’s little stolid or narrow about the six improvisations which the pianist shares with the double bassist. Initially a bit hesitant as the bassist jumps, slides and stomps narrowed and staccato timbres – as well as vocalizing nonsense syllables – Harnik’s initial chamber-recital style accompaniment becomes more tilted, with key stop, making a connection with pinched inner strings and sul ponticello rubs on “Ear Area III”, finally rearranging into kinetic patterns.
Although the extended conclusion the mates erhu-like piano-harp strums and bee-buzzing-like bow caprices into a florid and flow that’s both echoing and emotional, the climatic interface occurs with “Ear Area IV” and “Ear Area V”. Contrapuntal high-pitched piano glissandi and pounding, plus low-pitched string rubs scrubs from Léandre work their way into a shuffling romantic ending on the first. Subsequently, the sly melodic momentum is toughened with staccato scratches from the piano innards plus double bass thumping stops. The call-and-response formula confirms the duo’s intricate skill, ending with a conspicuous sweep of sparkling timbres.
Succinctly the discs confirm Harnik’s talents in a solo setting and her ability to hold her own with one of the music’s most masterful improvisers.
Review by Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg:
Superbe album de piano solitaire et contemporain par une des meilleures improvisatrices de la scène autrichienne pour un total de 48’08’’ enregistrées en concert. Trois morceaux / compositions sont dédiées respectivement à Conlon Nancarrow (Everytime he punched a hole), Jeanne Lee (As the crow flies north) et Anthony Braxton (Flow and construction– en quatre parties). Tout un programme. Harnik met en perspective des pratiques du piano différentes, contrastées, stimulantes, construisant intelligemment et avec une belle sensibilité, un concert ramassé, concentré, dynamique. Ses doigtés fugueurs et son toucher resplendissant crée de belles couleurs avec un instrument réputé pour sa « régularité » sonore académique (Ragged). Dans Jaw to ear, elle aborde le registre grave et un brin aléatoire tout en faisant bruisser et percuter les recoins du cadre de l’instrument jusqu’au bord du silence. Avec la petite suite dédiée à Braxton on navigue dans le grand art. Quelle pianiste! De bout en bout un remarquable concert (2015) que Iztok Zupan a eu le flair d‘enregistrer et de publier sur son label Klopotec.