Dennis Johnson – November 4CD
First recording of Dennis Johnson’s 5-hour minimalist masterpiece, November.
Until recently, one of the most substantial and signiﬁcant pieces of the minimalist repertoire was virtually unknown. Written in 1959 by Dennis Johnson, November was purportedly six hours long as originally conceived. La Monte Young, who knew Johnson while at UCLA in the late 50s, credited the piece for inspiring The Well-Tuned Piano. November anticipated many trends in minimalist music in addition to its prodigious duration: diatonic tonality, additive processes, and repetition of small motives. It is beautiful, slow-paced, and introspective, and was nearly lost entirely. Irritable Hedgehog and Penultimate Press are proud to announce the ﬁrst ever release of this historically signiﬁcant and thoroughly engaging work.
Kyle Gann rescued November from obscurity, reconstructing the piece from the only existing materials: a hiss-ridden, 112-minute cassette recording played by Dennis Johnson himself (which Gann received from La Monte Young) and a rough score he received from Johnson. The score, such as it is, consists of several pages of short musical ideas, meant to be improvised upon as desired by the performer. Flexible instructions are also given for the order of the material to be performed.
Pianist R. Andrew Lee has established himself in recent years as one of the foremost interpreters of the
minimalist piano repertoire and has boldly embraced the challenge of this monumental work. Utilizing
Gann’s reconstructed score, he has recorded a sublime interpretation which ﬁnally documents one of the most important lost works in the 20th century canon.
At once highly listenable, melancholic, warm and unique, Dennis Johnson’s November is a work of immense historical signiﬁcance that will appeal to those with a taste for 20th century repertoire, minimalism, exploratory piano works, and substantial and haunting works of art.