Review of “My Wounded Head 3” in the San Francisco Chronicle!

Marc Chan’s entrancing piano opus “My Wounded Head 3” is not the musical slasher flick its title might lead you to expect. On the contrary, it’s an expansive, gently repetitive skein of minimalist gestures, given an irresistibly beautiful performance here by pianist Rob Haskins. Chan takes his title and some of his melodic material from the chorale “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunde,” known in English as “O Sacred Head Now Wounded”; the melody is familiar to most music lovers from its use in Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion.” Yet the experience of listening to this 75-minute piece is a far cry from anything overtly Bachian. Instead, Chan lets you settle into a series of static, almost timeless musical moments, which the performer is free to repeat as many times as needed. The effect is like a more overtly spiritual rewrite of early Philip Glass, threaded through with a surprising, almost paradoxical narrative drive. It’s never less than mesmerizing.

Joshua Kosman (March 22 2017)

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