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Petits Reves Bizarres XIII-Xxiv (Feat. Stephan Beneking)

October 10, 2013 | Format: MP3

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4:12
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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: October 10, 2013
  • Release Date: October 10, 2013
  • Label: Milana
  • Copyright: 2013 Milana
  • Total Length: 53:11
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B00EUS6XSG
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bob Sherman on October 23, 2013
Format: Audio CD
"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams." - Arthur O'Shaughnessy

"Milana - Petits Reves Bizarres XIII - XXIV" (Released in Oct. 2013) is a collaboration between Stephan Beneking, a contemporary Romantic neo-classical composer, and Milana, a classically trained improvisational pianist. In English, this title means "Strange Little Dreams", which perfectly labels this collection of 12 piano pieces.

In Ottawa, Ontario, I recently had a chance to meet with Milana and her husband Arty. Arty designed, built, and operated the studio, where pieces were recorded. And this meeting gave me a rare insight into the development of these piano performances.

I also recently exchanged e-mails with Stephan Beneking, who lives in Berlin, Germany. He provided me with a glimpse into his creative process, and his motivation for creating this album.

This project came to life when Arty suggested that Milana apply her improvisational gift to Stephan's "Petit Reves Bizarres No. 14" - one of the songs on this album. And after Arty recorded Milana's performance, they sent the recording to Stephan, without really knowing how Stephan would react to having one of his classical compositions "altered". But Stephan loved it - so much so that he suggested that he and Milana collaborate on a collection of similar works. "Milana - Petits Reves Bizarres XIII - XXIV" is the second album in this series.

The format for these collaborations was for Stephan to suggest that Milana keep the beginning (roughly two minutes) of each song. Then, after Milana played the song through once - as written - she would start to improvise. And this protocol worked better than either the composer or the pianist could have possibly imagined.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Parsons TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 10, 2013
Format: Audio CD
"Petits Reves Bizarres #13-24 (Strange Little Dreams)" is the second half of a recent collaboration with Canadian composer/pianist Milana and Berlin composer Stephan Beneking, who wrote this music in 2011. Milana plays each of the pieces as written and then improvises, expanding these wonderful themes into stunning longer-form pieces. Classically-structured and melodic, this collection will be a treat for classical music buffs as well as new age and contemporary classical fans. Bottom line - this is simply great music without having to classify it. This is Milana's fourth release this year - this one, the first half of the Beneking collaboration, an album of original piano solos called "Filling the Emptiness," and a vocal album of original songs called "Just Loved" - and so far all three piano albums are on my list of favorite albums for 2013.

Each original piece is one-three pages in length and it is interesting to note that Beneking does not include any tempo, dynamics or pedal markings in his sheet music, allowing each pianist to develop his or her own understanding of the work and making each interpretation a unique collaboration of composer and pianist. Beneking offers all of his piano sheet music for free on his website. I plan to use some of this music with my piano students because it is so expressive and evocative yet not terribly difficult to play.

The album begins with #13, a mysterious piece that reminds me of some of Mendelssohn's darker Songs Without Words. #14 is a bit more akin to a Chopin prelude, and Milana's improvisation is very fluid and dreamy. #16 has a simple but very lovely melody that Milana takes to lofty heights with her interpretation. #17 is dark, dramatic and very moody - one of my favorites.
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