Eleanor Sandresky

A Sleeper's Notebook (One Soul)

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>0/5

Photo: Robin Holland

Pianist-composer Eleanor Sandresky has long been one of New York's busiest musicians, both as a member of the Philip Glass Ensemble and as a cofounder of composers collective Exploding Music and contemporary-classical festival Music at the Anthology (MATA). One unfortunate side effect of the extraordinary effort she has long exerted on behalf of others, however, is a decided dearth of her own music on record.

A Sleeper's Notebook, recently issued on New York--based indie label One Soul, finally begins to redress Sandresky's absence from the catalog. The disc contains but one work, an hour-long piece for "choreographic piano." A live performance of the six-section composition involves movement as intricately plotted as the notes on the page. In video clips on her website (www.esandresky.com), the composer nods, swivels and rocks as she plays, her body language often suggesting that of a dreaming sleeper. Her hands drift and bob like a pair of breeze-borne swallows, gently alighting on the keys one after the other.

Including those videos on the disc would have proved enlightening. But even without them, Sandresky's music succeeds on its own terms. Her language is of a decidedly minimalist stripe, but with ever-varying qualities of touch, register and intensity. From the opening "Lullaby," all gauzy harmonic haze drifting amidst beaconlike notes, to the relentless nightmare machine that chugs away throughout "Dream 2," A Sleeper's Notebook maps in vivid detail a nocturnal terrain in constant flux.—Steve Smith