Skaller/Holt Duo: Music of Mark Dresser
For almost a decade, pianists Philip Skaller and Danny Holt have been exploring a particular kind of rhythmic virtuosity (and ferocity), informed by both experimental jazz and contemporary classical music. The music of Mark Dresser is the canvas for the duo’s first album, a set of five ambitious, imaginative, and playful deconstructions of Dresser tunes for two pianos (and other keyboard instruments, percussion, and musical toys.) Skaller/Holt Duo explores the intersection of composition and improvisation with an obsessive and virtuosic deconstruction of time: speed, cycles, density and rates of flow, acceleration, deceleration, augmentation, diminution, rhythm, groove, chaos.
“…like John Cage on some mind-altering substance.”
“If you haven’t gotten your daily (or weekly, or monthly or yearly) dose of different, this duo serves it up quite nicely…Unless you’re so hung up on form and tradition that you (just) can’t tolerate music that takes you down new paths and new modes of thinking/hearing, you will love this…one of the best improvised albums I’ve heard (yet) this year.”
“…an impressionistic panorama of Dresser’s work. With nimble phrasings, asymmetrical pulses and faint melody lines, the duo exercises a highly rhythmic and surrealist portraiture via swirling dialogues, temperate interludes, and climactic crescendos…Effectively, they shun convention and pose an array of persuasive ideologies…”
“The Skaller/Holt Duo (Philip and Danny, respectively) is decidedly different…It is music of energy, ultra-expressiveness and a little slapdash helter-skelter thrown in besides….quite invigorating and really interesting.”
gapplegate music review
“…sometimes stark, sometimes herky-jerky, sometimes dreamy, and almost always rather…peculiar. We love piano music…but we’ve never heard piano music exactly like this before (?).”
Danny Holt’s latest solo album features ambient/new age works by Mike Garson, Caleb Burhans, Nico Muhly, Graham Fitkin, Michael Jon Fink, Ludovico Einaudi, Zbigniew Preisner, and Radiohead/O’Riley.
Holt is mostly known for his athletic performances of edgy, virtuosic contemporary classical music. But when his father passed away in 2008, he turned to the other extreme: quiet, contemplative music that was both a comfort during the grieving process, and which also expressed some of the tumult and complexity of grief. That is the music of “Release”.
Recorded in the solitude of a classic turn-of-the-century New England concert hall on an exquisite Bosendorfer Imperial Concert Grand piano, this recording is both luscious and intimate—a rich tapestry of colors and moods that moves the listener through complex emotional landscapes.
Currently available in limited release only from CDBaby.com.
Recorded in 2005 and now available from Innova Recordings: new music by David Lang, Lona Kozik, Graham Fitkin, Caleb Burhans, and Jascha Narveson. Produced by Danny Holt and Mike Garson. For more information and to order your copy today, visit the label’s website. Or click on the icons above to buy from Amazon or iTunes.
“a compelling showcase for Holt’s innate virtuosity and gregarious temperament.”
“Most underrated classical disc of 2009″
New Haven Advocate
“…a brilliant player…he attacks the instrument with verve.”
Other Minds Radio, KALW 91.7 San Francisco
“This is a remarkably rewarding program of music for piano solo composed between the years 1997 and 2005, and performed with convincing authority and extraordinary dexterity by the California-based Danny Holt…a most impressive testament to the highly impressive artistry of Danny Holt, as well as to the continuing fertility of composers in writing meaningful music for the piano during the early years of this still-new century. The program provides the opportunity for Holt to demonstrate tremendous power, velocity, subtlety of expression, and a great variety of tonal colorations.”
Selected by John Schaefer of WNYC’s New Sounds as one of the best new releases of June 2009, and featured on iTunes alongside releases by John Adams, Philip Glass, etc.
L.A. Phil: Minimalist Jukebox
Deutsche Grammophon and iTunes teamed up to make several concerts from the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s 2006 festival available for download on iTunes. Danny performed on two works by Steve Reich: Variations for Winds, Strings, and Keyboards and Three Movements.
Visit www.itunes.com and search for “Minimalist Jukebox”.
“Holt’s debut CD offers a taste of his offbeat take on the classics and cutting-edge music.”
-Daily Hampshire Gazette (Northampton, Mass.)
“Eclectic and fun…Imagine my surprise when I opened Danny Holt’s new album and saw him playing the piano with his head underneath the instrument.”
-The Reminder (Springfield, Mass.)
“There isn’t a wayward or weird rhythm out there that Danny cannot lasso in, tame, and master.”
-Monica Jakuc, concert pianist
Right Now captures the essence of Danny’s adventurous and experimental musical spirit. Combining the serene and the spastic, the peaceful and the violent, the old and the new, Right Now includes music by the masters, some neglected treasures, and the newest of the new from some of the 21st century’s cutting-edge composers.
Right Now features the world-premiere recordings of two major new works by the next generation of young American composers: the Sonata for Piano No. 1 by James Welsch, and Lona Kozik’s Suite of Carnatic Rhythms. Also included are rarely-heard works such as the Mozart baroque suite (K. 399), a Bach chorale prelude re-composed by Busoni, and The Anti-Abolitionist Riots by Ives. Top it off with Brahms, Debussy, Beethoven, and a few surprises, and it’s 74 minutes of jam-packed fun!
[Right Now is out of print. But if you're feeling nostalgic and you've just got to hear it, contact Danny and in exchange for some fine dark chocolate, he can be persuaded to send a bootleg copy, or e-mail some mp3s...]