Known for his somewhat complex note-series and style of composition, Ukranian composer Lubomyr Melnyk delivers a unique experience of piano playing. His continuous technique would be tough to replicate, let alone surpass. This is a man, who in 1985, set two world records sustaining speeds of over 19.5 notes per second in each, and played between 13 and 14 notes per second for one full hour.
His playing is almost hypnotic as his fingers glide across keys. ‘Beyond Romance’ could be a bedazzling mess in the hands of a lot of other pianists but Melnyk manages to harmoniously weave the notes and the result is stunning. The other side to this is that without moments of rest and silence that most classical compositions employ in the interests of contrast, coherence and impact, Melnyk’s pieces can be very overwhelming. This is not to say it completely loses its effectiveness but more that it’s hard to maintain a connection with the underpinning emotion of the composition.
The music can be very beautiful and ultimately harmonious but it’s hard to fully appreciate the beauty amidst a frenetic flurry of notes.
His signature continuous playing is what defines him as a musician but I don’t feel that it’s a style that can be welcome on a regular basis. ‘Solitude No. 1’ is appropriately calmer than it’s predecessor but ‘Sunset’ manages to be on the verge of the chaotic. The music can be very beautiful and ultimately harmonious but it’s hard to fully appreciate the beauty amidst a frenetic flurry of notes.
‘Cloud No. 81’ is a very nice piece of melodic piano music but like ‘Beyond Romance’ it resolves at a lengthy 16 minutes. This is not far from a typical movement but given the album’s nature and the style of play, this is a lot to handle. Title-track ‘Illirion’ only comes in a fraction shorter and is just as entrancing if not as bewildering.
Melnyk is a unique talent, but in terms of an enjoyable listening experience ‘Illirion’ will split the room.
By Will Hunt
Continuous playing that rarely stops for breath
Harmonious moments of beauty
A niche style that will split the room
|1. Beyond Romance|
|2. Solitude No. 1 (Live)|
|4. Cloud No. 81|