Piano

Marvellous concert in the cultural festival “H├Âren & Sehen”.
Musical peak with the piano player Josep-Maria Balanyà
Eschede (Germany), June 26th, 1999

The visitors of the cultural events in Randlage are used to seeing a lot of things, but they have never experienced something like this; a
Spanish artist that lives all his temperament and inspiration with the piano as if everything happened in the instant. Josep-Maria Balanyà plays his perfectly written compositions on the piano in a conventional manner, uses the piano as a percussion, string and pizzicato instrument. He sometimes screams and increases his instruments with a typewriter and a tape recorder. Despite all of these non-usual things, the audience was so captivated and dazzled that they asked for several encores.

Then the artist showed that not only the typewriter could sound jazzy, but also the way he plays the piano. How in the encore, this Spanish artist of sound and keyboards converted “Autumn Leaves” into a Balany├á’s piece, was that which convinced even the last doubtful person. All the pianistic elements that Josep-Maria Balany├á showed in his other pieces in a multifaceted and creative way were present in this standard. However, this closer link with Jazz made easier listening for the audience that was less involved in the concert.

Waterfalls of chords and clusters hurtled, the frenetic rhythms of both hands were caught to release again.

Harmonic stratifications made it seem, in some phrases, as though two piano players were playing at two different times. So, this encore turned into the high point of the night that already had had some others. For instance, a very virtuous piece for typewriter and piano: the rich fantasy of how Balanyà connected the rhythmic and percussive elements of the typewriting and the piano playing was quite an event itself. His ability, as if he were a magician, to tickling the piano, to take out of it unsuspected sounding worlds and to captivate the audience with his Mediterranean musical joy is yet another special quality only seen in few artists.

This spark of joy was passed on to the audience in the first performance of “Kratzklang- Etude”, despite the fact that this piece is played exclusively with engraving tools. There was scratching, sanding, filing and beating in a musical way. Through the electroacoustic amplification of sounds, each member of the audience could listen to the sounds and verify that music can be made this way as well. With “Kratzklang- Etude”, Balany├á almost passed the border to sculptural action art. In the first line, the graphics created during the playing (engraved copper plate) are the testimony of a singular process of musical creation.

Reinald Hanke
Azeitung, June 30th, 1999 (Germany)