Lubomyr Melnyk: Evertina
Credit Erased Tapes with helping to bring Lubomyr Melnyk and his music to greater public awareness. Listeners who had yet to be introduced to the innovative pianist's rapturous “Continuous Piano Music” style received a magnificent earful of it when the label issued the wonderful Peter Broderick-produced Corollaries in 2013. Following that release, Three Solo Pieces and Windmills appeared on Unseen Worlds and Hinterzimmer Records, respectively, with both releases amazing the listener with their presentations of the Ukrainian pianist's unbroken streams of sound.
But while at first glance Evertina would appear to be an extension of Corollaries, given that both projects feature distinctive cover artwork created by American artist Gregory Euclide, its style is radically different. For on this twenty-four-minute EP, a more gentle side of Melnyk's artistic persona is presented, and the breakneck pace of the aforementioned releases is absent. It's somewhat misleading to describe the EP's three newly composed solo piano pieces as more melodic than the material on the albums, as their pieces aren't deficient in the melodic department. However, it's easier to hear the melodic content more easily on Evertina when the melodies are less camouflaged by overtones.
The first two pieces, short by Melnyk standards at five minutes each, were created on a middle-aged upright at a friend's home in New York in October 2012. Up first, the title track is an unabashedly lovely piece, wistful in spirit and delicately rendered by the pianist. Describing it as heartbreakingly beautiful might sound excessive for such a simple composition, but there's no denying the music's impact. If anything, the soul-stirring “Awaiting” proves to be even more affecting for the ache of its melancholy tone.
Sometimes the most wonderful music comes into existence in the most unexpected of ways. “Butterfly,” the longest of the three settings at almost thirteen minutes, was created when Melnyk found himself inspired to write a piece for children who were listening to him play in a hotel lobby in Cologne. Recorded on a battered grand piano in Switzerland in late 2013 (its lid closed down to soften the effect), the piece, especially during its second half, comes closest to referencing the denser style for which he's become known, though not before opening with light-hearted melodies that, yes, float as carefreely as butterflies.
In explaining why he had until now kept such material under wraps, Melnyk said, “I guess it is because they are so easy to play, so effortless, I can do them while sleeping. Whereas my more demanding abilities on the piano come out in the forceful nature of continuous playing. There, the new ground is being broken and a new door is being opened for the world. But that does not mean that I am bound by nature or by God to do only continuous music. My heart moves into these pieces just as it moves into the continuous modalities.” How fortunate we are that he decided to share them with us.