Music video for Troy Herion's "Harpsichords," premiered via
NPR Music and featured on Currents
"Mizrahi's playing is rhythmically alert and lyrical in music that shifts from the concision of a Baroque toccata to the sensuosity of a Chopin nocturne."
- NPR Music
"This is that rare thing, an album for absolutely everyone, from new-music connoisseurs, to admirers of instrumental virtuosity, to the most casual of classical-music audiences. Hear it, and be moved."
- Q2 Music
"...the album embodies forward movement, building on great piano works of the past while propelling the solo piano repertoire ahead in a new and energized direction."
- Lawrence University News
New Amsterdam Records is excited to announce the release of pianist Michael Mizrahi's sophomore album Currents, available everywhere today. The album brings together six impeccably performed and recorded new American piano works, almost all written specifically with Mizrahi’s singular sound and approach in mind, and featuring composers Sarah Kirkland Snider, Troy Herion, Mark Dancigers, Asha Srinivasan, Missy Mazzoli, and Patrick Burke. As with Mizrahi’s widely acclaimed New Amsterdam debut The Bright Motion (2012), Currents showcases the continued vitality of the piano’s exceptionally rich musical heritage while exploring its capability to express the most contemporary of musical ideas. The result is a significant addition to the solo piano repertory of the 21st century that, as the title suggests, embodies movement forward -- building on the great piano works of the past while propelling the solo piano repertoire ahead in a new and energized direction.
In advance of the album's release, Mizrahi recently premiered the music video for "Harpsichords" via NPR Music. The two-minute video features excerpts from the work written by composer Troy Herion, and Mizrahi's playing was praised as "rhythmically alert and lyrical in music that shifts from the concision of a Baroque toccata to the sensuosity of a Chopin nocturne." In addition, this week Currents is being featured as Q2 Music's Album of the Week, which called it "an album for absolutely everyone, from new-music connoisseurs, to admirers of instrumental virtuosity, to the most casual of classical-music audiences. Hear it, and be moved."
Almost all of the pieces on Currents were commissioned and premiered by Mizrahi, and composed with his hands, sound, and approach to the keyboard in mind. Mizrahi communicated frequently with the composers throughout the process of learning, performing, and recording their music, resulting in an album that is profoundly personalized. The album opens with the title track, Sarah Kirkland Snider’s “The Currents,” flowing from start to finish, with currents of sound pulling the listener through eddies and whirlpools along the way. Troy Herion’s “Harpsichords” follows, evoking a transparent Baroque texture, replete with trills and shakes. Mark Dancigers’s “The Bright Motion Ascending” -- the third installment in his Bright Motion trilogy written for Mizrahi -- explores the vibrant upper reaches of the instrument before plummeting back to Earth with a cataclysmic final chord.
Next is Asha Srinivasan’s “Mercurial Reveries” is a probing five-movement work that draws on her Indian American heritage and is in one moment domineering and terrifying, and in the next, delicate, docile, and nostalgic. Missy Mazzoli’s “Heartbreaker” begins with focused precision and evolves into a trance-like state that eventually breaks down in a schizophrenic collapse. The album closes with Patrick Burke's “Missing Piece,” in which piquant dissonances into slow-moving triadic harmonies that plumb the lowest ranges of the piano. The works exhibit a tremendously varied compositional perspective, but feel unified by their custom design for Mizrahi’s sound, approach and virtuosic performance. Currents is at once both a vibrant reflection of the solo instrument’s storied past and charged movement in a direction it has not yet been.
Praise for Michael Mizrahi:
"...Michael Mizrahi is one of those musicians who is endlessly fascinated by everything and is, as a result, endlessly fascinating himself."
– WQXR New York
"[T]he gifted pianist Michael Mizrahi...plays with both tenderness and fierce beauty."
“A soloist of the first rank"