Glassful of Doubt
REVIEW: A Glassful of Doubt Spicka's Doubt Beyond the shadow of a..., George Spicka's 'Doubt' inhabits a world that embodies a multitude of certainties. This is a firmament, which glows with imagination. It is pianist and composer in unison. A combination of Liszt and Monk at work. What Mr. Spicka gives us in A Glassful of Doubt, is a self-contained, bold declaration of belief in the creative spirit. The composer has suggested that Doubt may be approached as a single piece with separate movements. I think it wise to heed this guidance. It matters not whether we call it a Suite or a collection of etudes. Each element is chiseled in a singular mold, tempos loping into each other like a glassful of melting ice Doubt always conveys a sense of apprehension, and this feeling permeates the entire work. There is a wonderful - and thought-provoking - sense of uncertainty as to how the pieces will be shaped. Will they come too full-throttle? Will they dissolve in the glass? The point is - they beckon for our attention. Transmission accomplished. It is always difficult discussing serious creations without reference points. Although this is somewhat of a disservice to the composer, I don't think Mr. Spicka would mind the opinion that there are strong connections to the keyboard literature of both Arnold Schoenberg and Bill Evans. If the listener wishes a point of departure for entering Spicka's creativity, he or she can feel comfortable with the above sources. But this is not necessary to gain access to Doubt.If Evans's swirling curiosity makes an appearance in Spicka's oeuvre - so be it. Likewise, Schoenberg's discipline. We can approach the glass from many directions. George Spicka's prolific outpourings give us a blueprint for creations such as A Glassful of Doubt. A member of the Baltimore Composers Forum, he is an active proselytizer for contemporary music. He, himself, is a recognized composer of note. He embodies the spirit of contemporary art. As founder and director of Jazz Street Station, Spicka and his wife Jane have represented a multitude of jazz composers in programs at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and many jazz venues in the Washington - Baltimore area. His own work comes out of this very tall glass. Spicka's knowledge of a multitude of languages is evident in the scope of the solo piano pieces. The lexicon is vast. But don't make the mistake of looking at A Glassful of Doubt as a melange of jazz tunes conjured up by someone who has studied a bit. This is vital music making from a restless spirit who is not afraid to communicate. The glass is never full. Mark Yacovone Program Director, WDUQ-FM Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.