On Friday, April 23, 2021, composer Scott Wollschleger and pianist Karl Larson release Dark Days, an album featuring 10 of Wollschleger’s deeply personal works for solo piano, on New Focus Recordings. These introspective pieces, performed here by his close friend and frequent collaborator, give listeners a glimpse into the intimate depths of Wollschleger’s working process and the utilization of his rare synesthesia through the tactile use of the piano. Described by Pitchfork as “marvelous” and “powerful,” Karl Larson is a specialist in the music of our time and is uniquely suited to perform these works thanks to a deep understanding of Wollschleger’s musical language. Composed between 2007-2020, the program order on Dark Days traces the evolution of Wollschleger’s compositional style and is intended as an experiential journey. Larson’s liner notes delve into the technical specificities of Wollschleger’s work as well as the long standing and prolific relationship between composer and performer. Larson will perform the Dark Days programin a live streamed concert at Brooklyn’s Roulette on Thursday, May 6, 2021 at 8:00pm ET.
The neurological condition of synaesthesia profoundly informs Scott Wollschleger’s piano-writing. Yet it’s not necessary to know that in order to appreciate the music’s organic flow, sonorous resourcefulness and evocative nature…Kudos to pianist Karl Larson, whose sensitivity and colouristic abilities allow him to enter, inhabit and internalise Wollschleger’s very special sound world, captured in a warm and ample recording. A beautiful release.
…the first thing that strikes the listener here is the variety of colors he calls forth from the keyboard, beautifully brought out by his champion pianist, Karl Larson. Wollschleger’s treatment of the piano unmistakably brings to mind a Claude Debussy brought into the modern era… A novel contemporary release rooted in long traditions and accessible to all.
The works that make up Dark Days, recently released by New Focus Recordings, illuminate the subtleties of bygone memories with a poignant clarity. Live, their striking intimacy envelops us in a wistful shroud of sound.
Recording engineer: Ryan Streber
Editing, mixing, and mastering: Ryan Streber and Scott Wollschleger
Editing assistant: Charles Mueller
Piano technician: Dan Jessie (Hamburg Steinway D)
Produced by Scott Wollschleger and Karl Larson
Executive Producer: Scott Wollschleger
Painting on cover: River of Silence by Theresa Musatto, used with permission from the artist
Album design by Traci Larson
Photo of Karl Larson and Scott Wollschleger by Greg Manis, used with permission
Art photography by Jennifer Dworek, used with permission