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|Andrť Cafť Acoustique and Chester Performing Arts Project Press|
Regarding Fejko's part in an all-day event marking John Cage's admiration for Erik Satie. Fej was one of 17 pianists playing Satie's wonderfully irratating 'Vexations' - all 840 repititions - at the Horton Gallery in Philadelphia, PA on September 5th. The event was scheduled to go from 9am to 6pm. Fej played at 3pm for his allotted one-half hour. Follows are excerpts from a review by David Patrick Stearns.
and amorphous wisp of music, heard over and over,
But in the hands of some
of the pianists, the music indeed rocked.
|Conventional, Commercial CDs||Non CD work|
|Organ Repertoire||Organ Improvisations||Compositions/Concerts|
Iconoclastic, provocative, and compelling performances here occasionally take us to the limits of poetic license, yet one never doubts that Fejko has a deep personal attachment to these pieces and all of the technique necessary to make them sing and sizzle. He savors every note and modulation. While tempos may occasionally creep, one's connection to the forward impulse is never lost, sense of shape is never confused, and no cobwebs accumulate. The reworked 1952/1991 Klais (IV/96), a tad glassy in its climaxes, at least as presented in this overallall very effective yet just-a-bit-too-close recording sounds more convincing than some of that firm's recent and more glitzy projects. The organ possesses sufficient mass, clarity, and brilliance either to press you back deeply into your audition chair or bring you to the seat's edge with real excitement. In an increasingly disinterested environment, orgelmeister Fejko provides a most attractive package of great romantic blockbusters, a bracing and tasty tonic. Zowie!!
Without question it is the organ that rightfully claims center stage in this recording, and a worthy one it is, too. This is the famous ∆olian-Skinner designed by G. Donald Harrison for All Saints Episcopal Church in Worcester, MA., and the program has been thoughtfully chosen to demonstrate the vast capabilities of this 120 rank (sic) gem. ....exciting..... Mulet, Messiaen... ....most successful.... Karg-Elert, Saint-SaŽns, Jongen Fejko is often imaginative in his approach; but you're as likely to be perplexed by the liberties he takes as you are to be thrilled by his exciting playing.
....[a] fine recital.... The playing is good, the recording excellent.... .....[a] CD worth owning...
Unencumbered by liturgical necessity or sacred reference, Fejko sails free-form through a colorful and curious soundscape. He showed his incredible rapport with this underappreciated Klais organ in a previous ARKAY release (AR-6160, Reger/Karg-Elert/Reubke) and has again himself recorded the instrument to very good effect. Its earthy, robust tone is far more interesting to hear than most American instruments of the era. If in the end what we have is not so memorable or touching/accessible as the improvisations of Pierre Cochereau or Paul Halley, you admire both Fejko's process and his result. It is a brave thing to do, improvise for the microphones, and the CD makes you wish to hear this musician "live". It may not be the trip you expected to take, but you'll enjoy the journey.
...in a world that often values conformity over individuality, such an unself-conscious and, above all, fluent hour of music has to be welcomed. There really is a garden of the imagination just on the other side of the gate!
Paul Fejko, one of our most brilliant and charismatic talents demonstrates his unedited improvisational skills in On Making the Flowers Dance. This is truly orchestration by organ.
....a talented and serious creative musician... The plastic and gentle synthesized sonorities [of the lyricon] meld well with the 125 rank ∆olian- Skinner at All Saints Church in Worcester.
A remarkable exercise in so-called 'New Age' styles, contemporary technology and ancient performance skills wedded into a brilliantly realized color tapestry. This is improvisation of the highest order.... Fejko and Diamond] are master musicians who display their mastery in ways common to many cultures outside the circumference of most traditional western musics.
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The program ended with a brilliantly written and ingenious show-stopper for two pianos: Paul Fejko's Gossips, Talkers & Babblers (1986). A virtuoso performance by Kevin Murphy and Benjamin Loebe. A real contribution to the literature, and which deserves to become a repertory favorite!
Fejko....has constructed a piece from motifs that stand as clear guides through the economical score.The players' dialogue is sung, yet its rhythmic flow is so cannily chosen that it gives the illusion of the most natural speech. The principals have fragments of song which break into rhythmic speech, and even sometimes into plain unaccompanied spoken lines. The shift from music to speech is carefully limited, generally to good effect.... Fejkos' score is appealing for its cartoonlike clarity. The good guys have noble music; the swine have grinding dissonance. Five-note arpeggios are used to keep an air of tension in the action, and Fejko found an effective device in a word - like Signore - or the mother's monotone prayer sung on one note while the orchestral color swirled around it. The bass-violin glissandos provide a shiver of fear that runs through a singer. The music comments on the words and the motives of the singers, and sometimes seems to frame a character momentarily, stopping the action while the character completes a thought. Words and music merged in enlarging the dramatic effect.
Referring to a concert
Ritual of the Bell,
PostCards from London, Liszt & Co, and Ruminations have not yet been reviewed