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The Book of Moments

Heresy Records releases Chinese pianist Ji Liu's eighteen hour 'Sonata Fantasy, The Book of Moments', which honours frontline pandemic workers


On Friday 20 May 2022, Heresy Records will release Steinway artist Ji Liu's Sonata Fantasy, The Book of Moments which premiered live from 7am on 31 December 2020, until 1am on 1 January 2021, in Qinhuangdao, a town on the east coast of China at the Wave Lounge, Seatopia Cultural Community, concurrently streamed live on YouTube.

Recipient of Guinness World Records' longest officially released instrumental work, the young Chinese artist is recognized as one of his generation's foremost concert pianists and is also active as a composer. Ji Liu holds a PhD from Kings College, London in music composition and performance.

Chinese pianist Ji Liu
Chinese pianist Ji Liu

The Book of Moments is structurally a Sonata Fantasy, comprised of twenty-one chapters with an exposition, development, recapitulation and a coda bridging contemporary/new classical and minimalism. Sections where the pianist is free to improvise on the thematic musical material are also present. Throughout the eighteen-hour-and nine-minute-long piece, the listener perceives unstructured open chorale endings with long silences and pauses that reveal their unfinished form. These contrast with those chapters with finite and complete endings, while seamlessly connecting and retaining their own musical attributes.

The studio recording presented here was recorded on 29 and 30 May 2021 at the Concert Hall of Shenzhen University.

Ji Liu comments on the creation of his composition:

The Book of Moments was composed during the pandemic and was influenced by my experiences and travels between the east and west in 2020. To me, this project is a lens through which I see the world and exists as a species of performance art that transcends its purely musical dimensions. The Book of Moments also pays homage to the sacrifices made by front-line professionals and staff members who worked day and night and enlightened our society during this challenging and memorable odyssey.

Inspired in part by Liszt's Sonata in B minor and Ji Liu's extensive research on Franz Schubert, The Book of Moments is also influenced by contemporary composers such as Michael Finnissy, Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Morton Feldman, John Cage and Frederic Rzewski, who wrote atypical compositions in long and complex formats.

Heresy Records will release Ji Liu's unprecedented Guinness World Record opus digitally on 20 May 2022.

Posted 10 May 2022 by Helene Kamioner





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