Ji Liu to release recording of 18-hour original piano work, 'Sonata Fantasy, The Book of Moments'

10 May 2022
By Ellie Palmer
Liu received a Guinness World Record for the longest officially released instrumental work when he premiered it last year

Chinese pianist Ji Liu will release his epic 18-hour original piano work on 20 May via Heresy Records.

The Steinway Artist originally premiered the piece – called 'Sonata Fantasy, The Book of Moments' – live from 7am on December 31, 2020 until 1am January 1, 2021 at the Wave Lounge, Seatopia Cultural Community in Qinhuangdao, a town on the east coast of China and simultaneously streamed live on YouTube.

The studio recording presented here was recorded on 29-30 May 2021 at the Concert Hall of Shenzhen University.

Heresy Records describe the piece as, "structurally a Sonata Fantasy, comprised of 21 chapters with an exposition, development, recapitulation and a coda bridging contemporary/new classical and minimalism forms. Sections where the pianist is free to improvise on the thematic musical material are also present.

Throughout the 18 hour and 9-minute-long piece, the listener perceives unstructured open chorale endings with long silences and pauses that reveal their unfinished form. These contrast with those chapters with finite and complete endings, while seamlessly connecting and retaining their own musical attributes."

Ji Liu comments, "'The Book of Moments' was composed during the pandemic and was influenced by my experiences and travels between the east and west in 2020. To me, this project is a lens through which I see the world and exists as a species of performance art that transcends its purely musical dimensions. ‘The Book of Moments’ also pays homage to the sacrifices made by frontline professionals and staff members who worked day and night and enlightened our society during this challenging and memorable odyssey."

Heresy Records have released a short documentary about the marathon Guinness World Record performance.

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Main image: ©Shenzhen Sky Concert Hall