Myra Melford’s solitary pursuit on Life Carries Me This Way is at once meditative and peaceful. It might easily be suggested by the music that the all-pervasive metaphor on the record is that of a river or an ocean; the vehicle that carries the musician on her journey the direction of the future, for that is where she appears to be going. The music certainly says so. And it does so in an imaginative, an exquisitely far-reaching and a most beautiful manner. The charts are composed with an epic sensibility and they are extremely elastic and creative. Mostly this is because Ms. Melford is made almost entirely of music. Her creative genius knows no bounds. She seems to sit at the piano and simply put her hands on the keyboard. Her hands and fingers seem hot-wired to inner synapses of her brain and that part of her is, in turn, hot-wired to her very soul. Thus there is no telling where her inspiration comes from; simply that it does and that this is a wondrous thing when it is absorbed into her music and that music is in full flow.
Although there appears to be a somewhat random flow of the music from the chart “Park Mechanics” on the music might actually be more interconnected than might be suggested by the titles of the rest of the charts. Sometimes it feels that the journey is an inter-galactic one, what with a “Red Beach” and a “Red Land”. But the music might not necessarily be suggesting that. In fact, each chart has a visual touchstone. These are the paintings by the artist Don Reich. However, their beauty and their impressionistic interpretations are in the proverbial eye of the beholder; in this instance that would be the pianist who is left to her musical devices to glean what she may from each of the canvases. What she sees certainly melds with the paintings, but each also is a moving picture—a moveable feast for the eyes and the ears.
Ms. Melford is the kind of pianist who puts great stock on imagery as well as that which is so suggestive that it can only be that the title of the chart is only a starting point. From there on Ms. Melford creates the music with astounding poetics and mastery of pure tone. So strong is the urge to arrive at pure tone that Ms. Melford might repeat notes; even phrases, until she finds the tone that she is looking for. “Piano Music” and “Japanese Music” are two such pieces of music where she arrives at that magical essence that she appears to have been searching for from the start of the pieces. In “Sagrada Familia” she is at her most adventurous. However, by and large Ms. Melford’s playing is contemplative and soul-searching rather than narrative.
One of the most rewarding aspects of the album is the connectivity of its songs. This facilitates the utter enjoyment of the music as an extended suite; one which can be listened to over and over again. Whole new meanings emerge with each new listening of the recording. This gives the music a timeless quality and makes Ms. Melford an altogether alluring pianist.
Track List: Park Mechanics; Red Beach; Red Land (For Don Reich); Piano Music; Japanese Music; Attic; Curtain; Moonless Night; Barcelona; Sagrada Familia; Still Life.
Personnel:: Myra Melford: piano.
Label: Firehouse 12 Records | Release date: October 2013
About Myra Melford
For pianist, composer and Guggenheim fellow Myra Melford, the personal and the poetic have always been intimately and deeply connected. Raised outside Chicago in a house designed by the renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Melford grew up literally surrounded by art. Where most of us find the beauty in our childhood homes through the memories and associations we make within its four walls, Melford saw early on that aesthetic expression could both be built from and be a structure for profound emotions.