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leaving a room

by Robert Fleitz

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about

leaving a room was recorded in May 2021, the last month I lived in my six-year New York apartment and the last month I lived with Mordecai, a 50-something year-old Kawai grand. I practiced on Mordecai for almost four years after finishing grad school, its lovingly dulled hammers producing a mellow, crackling tone that nevertheless sparkled past the walls and out the window, conversing with the barking dogs next door and the birds that roosted in the courtyard. Its uniquely heavy action altered my technique, rebuilding the musculature of my hands; the emotional negotiation of bedroom as practice room changed my listening, reforming my sonic imagination. My life and playing traced an analemma, with Mordecai the fixed point.
The works on this album, written by brilliant composers and artists who are dear friends who I admire deeply, unravel the ambiguous feelings inherent in leaving a place. Some of these pieces were written for, on, or with Mordecai; all of them ask the listener to lean in closely, breathe, and reconsider relationships with time, hearing, and place. With a decidedly lo-fi recording setup, I embraced Mordecai’s rough features: buzzing, inconsistent touch, acoustic limitations of the room — while also holding its idiosyncratic beauties: the breathtaking clearness possible in a single note, the introspective playing style of a small apartment, unexpected overtones, the sounds of a New York City courtyard outside; an apartment recital for an audience of one.

Special thanks to Sergio Muñoz; Eric Harper; Hannah McDermott; Han Shi; Zach Green; Colleen and John Berry; Giancarlo Latta; Issei Herr; Simon Frisch; Peter Fischer; Ryan Reilly; Julian Martin; Hung-Kuan Chen and Tema Blackstone; Pi-hsien Chen; Laura Andel; Patrick, Teresa, Claire, Carl and Dennis Fleitz; Mitchell List; Ellen and Rick Ontko; Michelle Fleitz and Larry Holzman; Amanda Wagner; Sarah Kendall; Andrew Brown; Matīss Čudars; The Swan City Piano Festival; Lou Sheppard; Lilita Dunska; Bastiaan Kuijt; Annie Yano; Lanee Hood-Hazelgrove; Beethoven Piano Movers; Eve Leopold, Elvin Martinez; the Robert Turnbull Piano Foundation, and my next-door neighbor Tina and her dogs. Deepest gratitude to my husband, Krists Auznieks.

credits

released September 3, 2021

Piano & Recording: Robert Fleitz, with a Kawai KG-2C and a Zoom H6 mic
Mixing: Lilita Dunska
Mastering: Bastiaan Kuijt & Lilita Dunska
Artwork: Lou Sheppard, Analemma (2021)
Design: Annie Yano
Piano Technician: Lanee Hood-Hazelgrove
This album was supported in part by funds from the Robert Turnbull Piano Foundation.

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Robert Fleitz Riga, Latvia

I play, commission, and write music to curate evocative, surprising and multi-disciplinary experiences for listeners. I'm fascinated by the intimacy of the piano, and the spiritual possibilities of the piano recital heard through new entry points. I'm from Lakeland, Florida, I live in Riga, Latvia and often can be found in New York City, where I lives with my husband, the composer Krists Auznieks. ... more

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