Madona Tyler Leblanc
"Trips for Piano is an extraordinary act of creating a vacation out of a blank page..."
For me, music is set in context. The where and how and who with all meld with the sound to create the experience of listening. Currently, the Washington D.C. area is sonically full of the cicada song, a distant pervasive drone almost like a far-away siren, almost like a scream. It is with this droning aural backdrop that I experienced Martin Graff’s Trips for Piano, a most welcome journey. Many of us embark on our daily walks—limited by the pandemic’s quarantine, limited in our abilities to connect—just as I set off today, masked still, earbuds in place, already enveloped by cicada sounds, but hoping, still hoping…
Trips for Piano builds a bridge from the domestic road we are familiar with, a Contemporary Classical approach in opening tracks, to relatable human moodiness and murky interior in the nightscape encountered in the track titled “After.” By the time I reached the final stirring tune, “Sonare,” I had been lifted out of the humid swarm surrounding me into a realm constructed by an architect of sound who deeply respects historical foundations but is not afraid to add a waterfall in the living room or a personal affect to the universe. The word ‘sonare’ means to sound, to play, and Martin Graff’s Trips for Piano is just that: the extraordinary act of creating a vacation out of the blank page, an excursion from the mundane drone, and playfulness out of the pandemic.
—MTL, May 26, 2021