The Persistence of Dreaming :  CD review by Steve Robertson

Memo to Australian filmmakers looking for superb music to accompany their images:  You don't need to commission new works, nor search through obscure old CDs.  Melbourne pianist Jeremy Woolhouse has created 12 new compositions of rare and exceptional beauty, and they've all been gathered on this new release.

A solo piano project, The Persistence of Dreaming offers respectful nods to everything from action film scores to English folk songs to Shostakovich.

"The music of James Bond in spire Fictional Lives and it was the underscoring to Dr Who which was in my mind when I wrote The Persistence of Dreaming," he said.  "When composing this work, I intended to create something that evoked or expressed emotional states, more so than particular musical influences or technical devices."

Close you eyes when listening to these works, ranging in length from four to seven minutes, and let your mind create cinematic images, an early morning snowfall, a dark rain forrest, tango dancers under a lamppost in a dim Buenos Aires alley.  Alternately uplifting, passionate, hymn-like or delicate, the themes express Jeremy's appreciation for beauty as a goal in itself.

"Awakening to Darkness and The Uncomfortable Present  do have elements distinctive to Russian folk and the works of Shostakovich and Prokofiev spring to mind," he said.  "They are a couple of my favourite classical composers.  Grieg is another - perhaps his influence can be heard in Alone in a Pressing Crowd of Thoughts.  I have played some Chopin - his influence is in Song for Lisa and Presence Beyond Absence."

Great jazz pianists including Bill Evans and Kenny Barron also get a look-in, not to mention the late and much lamented Dave Brubeck.  American review Dan McClenaghan was deeply impressed by the music and its origins:

"This is a suite-like set of original tunes remarkable for their brooding lyricism.  For a musician who switched from trombone and didn't get serious with the piano until he was nineteen years old, the now thirty-something Woolhouse has developed an elegant sense of keyboard harmony to go with his engaging way with a melody."

Keith Jarrett put it wonderfully when he said that part of the new freedom in music was NOT having to play in a dissonant or atonal style all the time.  You can still let loose your creativity, your self-expression.  Jeremy Woolhouse has achieved exactly that.


Published in The Portland Observer