Tuesday 18 May 2021

Pianist George Fu introduces his EP which launches Listenpony Sessions

George Fu at Listenpony #16
George Fu at Listenpony #16

On Friday 28 May 2021, Listenpony is releasing the first of a planned series of EPs, Listenpony Sessions, which will allow artists to create programmes based around their past live Listenpony concerts. For the first EP, Chinese-American pianist George Fu recorded in St Giles Cripplegate in November 2020 a programme which combines Listenpony commissions by Daniel Fardon, William Marsey and Josephine Stephenson with music by Messiaen and Rachmaninov, and is based on a programme Fu first performed for Listenpony in May 2018.

George Fu explained the programme a little more, "This program is more or less a version of the program I played for Listenpony On Tour in 2018 (Birmingham, Manchester and London). On this tour, I played short pieces by Messiaen and Rachmaninov, which had both been written around the same time (early 20th century) and yet reflect very different sensibilities. Rachmaninov was one of the final great composer-pianists in the Romantic tradition. His Études-Tableaux are not only great to listen to, they also give me such pleasure to play, as they are so pianistic and reflect the sensibility of a seasoned musician who understands the instrument so well. On the other hand, Messiaen’s Préludes seem to create a mystical universe with new colors, textures and shapes. These pieces by Messiaen and Rachmaninov were a foil for the Listenpony pieces by William Marsey, Josephine Stephenson and Daniel Fardon, which all treat the piano in such different and interesting ways. The variety of music being written nowadays proves that now, more than ever, is a very exciting time to be a musician.

When Listenpony approached me about recording this EP, we were in the midst of a national lockdown, and I had not played to a full live audience for months. I felt inundated by countless online streams and recordings, but what I missed most was live music. There already exists countless recordings of perfectly engineered piano recitals; what is the point of recording an EP now, at this present time, when we were all isolated? In reaction to this, we wanted to capture the spirit of a live Listenpony concert. We set up this EP to record an experience that closely duplicates what you might have heard on that day we recorded in St Giles Cripplegate. When I listened back to some of the tracks, I was surprised at how different this recording sounded from others; it took me a little bit of time to get used to it. But once I did, I felt that I had found something in it that I missed from this entire year of lockdown. I hope listeners feel the same

Further information from the Listenpony website

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