• Review #1 of “Compositional Improvisations from ‘The Mysteria’”

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    Gregory Hall: Compositional Improvisations from the Mysteria, Vol. 1. Gregory Hall, piano. Ravello. $12.99.


    ...Gregory Hall specifically says he looked back to Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin in creating the works heard on a Ravello CD calledCompositional Improvisations from the Mysteria, Vol. 1. But these are contemporary pieces through and through, created as live online concerts in 2011 and 2012 (with a short concluding Apotheosis dating to 2009). The works combine considerable dissonance and contemporary compositional techniques with periodic wanderings into the tonal world. Their titles are evocative but not especially reflective of the musical contents: Reflects dans le soleil, Introduction to “The Mysteria,” Thouros and Phosphoros, Mabou, Appledore, Symbolist Minimal and the aforementioned Apotheosis. The great improvisers of the 19th century based their performances on the popular music of the time – opera tunes or their own readily graspable themes – but Hall offers less for listeners to hold onto aurally and less clarity in the structures with which he develops his material. He is a fine pianist, though, and this (+++) CD shows that he clearly has a vision of how to use improvisation in a modern context and with a modern presentation method…


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