Thomas Fortmann seems like someone whose mind is constantly moving, spontaneous and agile. Indeed, he is unable to sit still musically, ranging from the blues to 12-tone in the same piece. This stylistic mobility is never distracting, though; instead, a certain optimism and joy shines through —a kind of innocence in the appreciation of every genre he writes in. Because of the wide palette he draws from, the main difference between individual works is the instrumentation. There isn’t much variety on this record—just chamber music for piano and strings. But I think his strength as a composer comes out, as does his affection for music of the American south. His is certainly an unusual approach—and a somewhat refreshing one. I’m not sure it has much staying power, but it’s worth hearing.