Peter Garland's music is uniquely American; a blend of minimalism with influences from South/Central America, Asia and the Native Americans; along with American mavericks Cage, Partch, Harrison, Cowell, and Varèse. Born in 1952, he studied with Harold Budd and James Tenney.
The works on this record share a special meditative, and at times ecstatic, spirituality. Garland has a long artistic association with the performers on this disc. Essential Music's percussive talents present this music's exotic and brilliant sound in an authoritatively persuasive way. The recordings are composer supervised.
The below is from Peter Garland's liner notes:
From 1972 until 1977, I stopped writing for European "orchestral" instruments. Strongly influenced by Harry Partch (with whom I had a brief but very intense and important friendship in the early 70s) and Native American musics, I was convinced that so-called "classical" music was dead ... I composed exclusively for percussion. Dreaming celebrated ... my adoption of what I termed the "Lou Harrison compromise" - to work with European instruments again, but to create a culturally alternative music, using those means. The contrasting presence of harpsichord and angklung (Balinese bamboo chimes) in the same piece really owes a lot to Lou.
Another Sunrise was written in New Mexico for Essential Music and pianist Aki Takahashi - its instrumentation of two pianists and four percussionists was determined by the fact that they were playing the Paul Bowles Concerto for Two Pianos, Winds and Percussion on the same concert. The percussion consists of rattles, steel drum, vibraphone, marimbula, and bass marimba. The tambourine sound (also prominent in I have had to learn…) was influenced by my visit to Tlacotalpan, Veracruz in December of 1991, where it is a prominent instrument, both in the Christmas posadas and in jarocho music groups. The marimbula was prominent in the Caribbean basin in the early part of the century: in Cuba, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Veracruz (Mexico), in early son, merengue and rumba groups.
I have had to learn the simplest things last is from Charles Olson's The Maximus Poems. Ever since I had heard of John Cage's death (about two weeks after the fact) at a café in Ubud's night market in Bali, I knew I was going to write a piece in honor of John. My very presence there in Bali was due to him. ... Finally, when I moved to Berlin in March of 1993 and once again had access to a piano, this was the first piece I wrote.
Reviews"His music has a subtle impressionistic beauty that never seems to fall into the 'stuck-record' bag of some minimalists." - John Sunier, Audiophile Edition (online magazine), February 2003