Michael Harrison – Revelation
Revelation is an amazing composition for piano in what composer Michael Harrison calls Pure Tuning (aka Just Intonation, intervals from the harmonic series). Melodic sections…unfolding over rippling, repeating chords, vast canyons of texture… contrasting with blocks of harmony, clouds of sound where Harrison strums the piano like a big harp in the sky.
There’s a bit of evolution to this piece….Harrison was a student of Hindustani Raga master vocalist Pandit Pran Nath, working with pure tuning on his piano. PPN mentioned another student – minimalist composer La Monte Young – was doing a similar thing with piano. Harrison later came to New York and became the primary tuner for Youngs Well Tuned Piano. Later, using these experiences and influences like the improvisational journeys of Keith Jarrett, Harrison performed and recorded his own masterpiece From Ancient Worlds For Harmonic Piano (New Albion, 1994). Revelation is the latest chapter in this journey…
Originally published in the Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter.