Infinitive - Piano Works
2011 / IWO
Review by Kathy Parsons
Infinitive - Piano Works is the incredible debut recording by IWO (pronounced E’ Vo). The Chicago-based composer/performer/teacher was born in Poland and attended the prestigious Akademia Muzyczna w Krakowie (Academy of Music, Cracow) in Poland where she studied Piano Performance as well as Music Theory and Composition. After competing in many piano competitions, she began her career as a concert pianist. When she relocated to the US, IWO’s musical interests expanded and she began composing in a more contemporary style while remaining true to the structure and complex harmonies of classical music. The results are a superb collection of fourteen original pieces that sound deceptively simple, but could only come from an artist who understands music and her instrument so well that she can express so much with so little. Most of the pieces have a melancholy and introspective tone, but this isn’t heavy or depressing music by any means. In keeping with the title of the album, all of the pieces are named with the word “to” followed by a verb - in its infinitive form. I really love this album and hope it’s the start of an illustrious new direction for IWO.
Infinitive begins with “To Drift,” a slow and dreamy piece that meanders beautifully and effortlessly, creating a dark and mysterious mood - an intriguing start! “To Sketch no. 1” is the first of five Sketches which are shorter and less defined, but very evocative. “To Create” is one of my favorites. The rhythm and structure remind me of Bach’s “Prelude in C Major,” although the harmonies are different and the whole piece doesn’t stay in exactly the same format. Beautifully expressive and delicate, this one makes my fingers itch! “To Sketch no. 2” is a gently rocking little daydream. “To Roam” picks up the tempo a bit and sets out on an adventure. “To Soar” is one of the more complex pieces to play although the melody itself is simple, uncomplicated, and joyful. “To Slumber” is very soothing and relaxing - a warm and comfortable dream-state. “To Sketch no. 4” expresses feelings of loss and sadness from deep within - another favorite. I love “To Endure,” which is brighter and more hopeful yet grounded in reality - compelling! “To Sketch no. 5” is heartbreakingly sad yet gorgeous and not without a sense of hope. “To Reminisce” ends this wonderful album on a gentle and warmly optimistic note.
Infinitive is truly a stellar debut and I give it my highest recommendation. It is available directly from IWO by emailing IWOpiano@gmail.com as well as Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Check it out!
February 13, 2011