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Picture of CD of works for piano by Walter Zimmermann performed by Ian Pace

Beginner's Mind
When I'm Eighty-Four
Barn Snail-Dance
Wanda Landowska's Verschwundene Instrumente

Ian Pace piano/harpsichord/voice

The Guardian - Andrew Clements - Classical CD of the Week
" Zimmermann attended composition courses given by Mauricio Kagel in Cologne, and studied ethnology in Amsterdam, but was predominantly self-taught as a composer. In the 1970s he put together an important collection of interviews with American experimental composers, Desert Plants (not even mentioned in the Grove article), and later edited the writings of Morton Feldman, and it is that experimental tradition, stemming from Cage (and perhaps even back to Satie) that forms the background to Zimmermann's own music.

Ian Pace's collection of keyboard pieces shows very well how Zimmermann has created his own distinctive musical world from those sources - works in which the focus is on the nature of the musical material itself rather than on the way in which it is expressed. Zimmermann was one of the prime movers in the "New Simplicity" movement that offered an antidote to the post-serial complexities of German music in the 1970s, especially in his cycle Lokale Musik (1981), which assembled a series of solo, chamber and orchestral works out of the folk tunes of his native Franconia.

His best-known work, however, remains the hour-long solo piano Beginner's Mind (1975), which takes up the whole of the first of Pace's two discs. It was written under the influence of Shunryu Suzuki's Zen tract, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, which proposes a three-part spiritual journey towards true enlightenment.

Zimmermann's 40 short pieces follow that course, progressively simplifying their musical means after a prologue, Five Moments in the Life of Franz Schubert, in which aspects of the old mind, the mind that is about to be transformed, are presented. The spare stillness of much of the piano writing, and the ways in which it is constructed from grids of pitches in permutation, inescapably recalls Feldman's music. In Abgeschiedenheit (Non-Attachment) of 1982, part of a cycle inspired by the writings of the medieval mystic Meister Eckhart, the sound is if anything even more rarefied, more ethereal, though in Wüstenwanderung (Desert Wandering, 1986) based upon Plato and a 17th-century German visionary text, the surfaces are far more troubled and turbulent.

Wanda Landowska's Lost Instruments (1999) takes scraps of music that the great harspichordist played and refracts them as a sequence of chaconne-like variations, alternating between computerised harpsichord and piano. Barn Snail Dance is a quiet chorale-like miniature, while When I Am 84 takes the Beatles' When I'm 64 and turns it into a wispy, whispered lullaby.

It is all exquisite, highly poeticised music that deserves to be heard; Ian Pace's performances are typically indefatigable, just lacking sometimes a bit in tonal variety and imagination."

Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3, CD Review
"...complex ideas presented with endearing simplicity..

...fascinating, it's one of those sound-worlds in which you just have to allow yourself to be absorbed and there's much pleasure to be had."

Questions from customers about Beginner's Mind by Walter Zimmerman (two CDs)

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Tracks on this CD

Walter Zimmerman Beginner's Mind: Prologue
1.Rossinis Einzug in Wien
2.Der Gefahrliche Freund
3.Die Grosse Oberosserreichische Reise
4.Erneuter Asubruch der Krankheit
5.Keine Antwort aus Weimar
Walter Zimmerman Leave the Old
6.Gather everything
7.Follow the yardsticks
8.Go wrong
9.Lose yourself
10.Destroy what's around
11.Forget what you've done
12.Accept the past
13.Discover the now
14.Become the spur of the moment
15.Be self-sufficient
Walter Zimmerman Clean the Mind
16.Let images come and go
17.Find perfect existence through imperfect existence
18.Change mindweeds into mental nourishment
19.Limit your activity
20.Dissolve obstacles by constancy
21.Burn yourself completely
22.Create from emptiness
23.Continue in calmness
24.Move the swinging door
25.Repeat it over and over again
Walter Zimmerman After the Consciousness
26.Adapt yourself to stimuli
27.Shake up your automatic responses
28.Change your emotions into extremes
29.Contract and expand your time sense
30.Suspend your time boundaries
31.Find stimuli you feel at one with
32.Grab the emerging ideas
33.Use up the unity feeling
34.Merge it into overpowering emotion
35.Let it release you
Walter Zimmerman Prepare the New
36.Recall the mental nourishment
37.Easy come easy go
38.Don't hesitate
39.Express everything straight on
40.Concentrate on your preferences
41.Follow your inner voice
42.Use empathy
43.Stimulate your mind wandering
44.Keep your original mind
45.Be a beginner


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