Quiet Rhythms is a piano cycle at once sprawling in scope and introspective in practice. Quiet Rhythms has the warmth and immediacy of a late-night improvisation—an artist following the melodies where they lead him. Quiet Rhythms brings together traditions Susman has spent a lifetime studying: the harmonic language of jazz, the rhythmic pulse of Latin music, the circling melodies of minimalism, the complex structures of medieval fugues, the ingenious simplicity of the American Popular Songbook.
Quiet Rhythms is united in its sense of quiet introspection, its lush pastel colors, its soft syncopations. The works are not harmonically loud, but they are dynamic. The pulse ebbs and flows: the music is at times delicate, reflective, even meditative—at other times fervent, urgent, and hypnotic. The music’s “quietness” then is less about volume than it is about connecting with the inner voice; listening in those fragile, delicate moments where quiet prevails.
As the composer describes it: “a rarefied tightrope between vulnerability and sublimity. When I set out to perform a one-hour concert of selections from Books I and II at Spectrum in 2013, it was not my plan to record a live album. I did not revisit the recording of this concert until the summer of 2020 during the pandemic. After a 7-year hiatus, I liked what I heard and I am excited to share it.”
The album features thirteen selections from Books I and II. Quiet Rhythms 13, 16, 18, 20, 21, and 22 are world premiere recordings.
AllMusic calls William Susman an exemplar of "the next developments in the sphere . . . [of] minimalism," and textura describes him as “not averse to letting his affection for Afro-Cuban, jazz, and other forms seep into his creative output.” His music has earned praise from The New York Times for being “vivid, turbulent, and rich-textured,” from Gramophone as “texturally shimmering and harmonically ravishing,” and from Fanfare for being "crystalline . . . and gloriously lyrical."
Other pianists who have recorded Quiet Rhythms include Vanessa Wagner, Erika Tazawa, and Francesco Di Fiore. Pianist Nicolas Horvath has recorded all of Book I.
William Susman, piano
Music by William Susman
Produced by William Susman
Recorded by Lawrence de Martin at Spectrum New York City, January 16, 2013
Mixed by John Kilgore at Kilgore Sound, New York City, 2021
Mastered by Alan Silverman at Arf! Mastering, New York City, 2022
Liner Notes by Maggie Molloy
Cover Design by Valeria Di Matteo
Special thanks to Glenn Cornett, founder of Spectrum.
All compositions © 2010-2012 by William Susman & Susman Music (ASCAP)
© 2023 Belarca Records