17 Solo Piano Improvisations
by Ron Thomas
Ron's 17 Solo Piano Improvisations is available from Tarnius Music and CDBaby.com and Amazon.com.
Individual tracks and the album are also available from iTunes. Search for "Ron Thomas Improvisations."
17 SOLO PIANO IMPROVISATIONS is a suite of loosely related, variously styled improvised pieces orbiting around certain features of the music of Franz Liszt. They document the idea of a direct pathway from the Beethoven-influenced-Liszt on to Debussy, Bartok, Schoenberg, Ligeti, Stockhausen, and certain features of mid-20th century jazz. My abiding affection for Liszt's personality and work began with my early reading of his fantastic life story with which I was as intoxicated as I was with his music (especially those remarkable Ruth Slencszynska Decca recordings from the 1950s, all of which should be reissued)! His legendary life led me to an idealized-heroic lifestyle of my own wherein I too would dedicate myself to the pursuit of the true, the noble, the new, and the beautiful in music.
RON COMMENTS: 'Liszt is likely to have agreed in principle to the following which I include here as yet one more variation on the theme of a manifesto on my artistic method. Lasting Art is best forged in the fires of the artist's personality alone. (By "personality" I do not mean style or idiom. Observable characteristics of style and idiom have nothing useful to contribute to the process of making art that will last). This is done by honoring intrinsic [and no other] protocols in the process of making the work. Observe those limitations and conditions to which you (the artist) by circumstance are unavoidably subject, and then also those limitations and conditions to which the individual work at hand itself is by necessity subject. If art is to be served by your work, maintain a vigilant indifference to arbitrary constraints of time and place (history). If everything else necessary is present then your work of art will surely be a living and lasting one.'
AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL EXCERPT: 1957: It is a warm afternoon in Montclair, New Jersey. I am lying in our hammock reading a biography of Liszt, and looking above me into the flickering light of the warm summer sun pouring between the leaves of the tree, "What a grand thing to give one's life to Music and struggle bravely to join the ranks of the Immortals!!"
--from Fragments by Ron Thomas
Recorded and mixed by John Vanore at Widener University, 1991.
Piano technician, Steve Sikora.
Mastered by Paul G. Kohler, 2006, Art of Life Records
Produced by Richard Burton, Vectordisc Records
CD Art Design by Danny Schweers, www.w2mw.com
Vectordisc 004, copyright 2006
Ron Thomas Music (ascap)