Episode 7: In My Own Skin

Welcome to PRESS PLAY, our recurring web series featuring exclusive performances of extraordinary solos and duos recorded in high quality at the Canadian Music Centre in Toronto. Each jam-packed episode includes intimate and informative conversation on the how and why behind the music with the artists themselves.

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Episode 7: In My Own Skin

February 18, 2021, 7pm

In My Own Skin (2010) 12’

Alvin Singleton (US), composer

Jackie Leung (CA), piano

As Jackie wrote to Mr. Singleton: “To me— In my own skin, seems to reflect your strong experiences with piano, jazz, and European classical training and your stance on how categorization defines oneself narrowly — instead In my own Skin, seems to me like the music that just breathes within your own skin — as a result of your experiences with music.” -As you will hear in the episode, Mr. Singleton strongly agreed with this observation.

“The title of this one-movement highly-pianistic creation lets us know clearly where the composer is comfortable. But within that skin in this work are two competing sonic worlds. Beginning chorally in big harmonies, that mood is soon interrupted by loud running 16th note octaves.

Slow, strong, and measured then seems to face off against young, strong, and impetuous throughout the piece. Or perhaps consider it a dialogue between two strong players; one the Emersonian voice of quiet, time-seasoned reason and the other wild and quicksilver, both in tempo and in rhythmic variety. The drama of In My Own Skin lies within these disjunct phrases, as each seems to argue as to what the whole piece should be about. Jazz and classical implications also keep things interesting. Some might hear those opening chords not so much as a classical chorale as like jazz big-band brass and winds, the running 16ths as something out of Lenny Tristano or Thelonious Monk. Of course Singleton fans know that it is about both, sonic and cultural worlds which live in his skin in comfortable equality. At midpoint in the piece the composer inserts a sly almost-Caribbean tune that seems to try to quiet the controversy down a bit. But soon we are back at it, and as the work closes the voice of placid reason has the last word.” – Carman Moore (2012)

Episode 7: In My Own Skin

production sponsors

Dr.Peter Burns

The Mary-Margaret Webb Foundation