Frederic Rzewski: Piano Music

Frederic Rzewski: Piano Music

by Robert Satterlee

CD

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Product Details

Release Date: 03/25/2014
Label: Naxos American
UPC: 0636943976029
catalogNumber: 8559760
Rank: 122748

Tracks

  1. Second Hand, or Alone at Last, novelettes (6), for piano left-hand

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Frederic Rzewski: Piano Music 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
KlingonOpera More than 1 year ago
Unusual contemporary work from Frederic Rzewski This disc consists of 3 different works by Frederic Rzewski – Fantasia, Second Hand (Six Novelettes for piano, left hand), and De Profundis (for Speaking Pianist). The first piece (Fantasia) is rather rhythmic, but is most definitely contemporary – almost Charles Ives like -- and does not leave the listener walking away with a particular hummable tune. The short liner notes indicate that the composer revised the piece ten years after its inception and “…changed the music to obscure the tune, putting in lots of wrong notes and kind of stomping on and smudging everything.” Enough said there. Much more satisfying are the Six Novelettes for piano left hand, which are essentially studies for the left hand alone. These are interesting exercises that push the pianist through melodic and rhythmic digital gymnastics, but are pleasing nonetheless. As for the last piece (De Profundis for Speaking Pianist), has an interesting premise – that being to bring forth eight sections of text by Oscar Wilde (written while Wilde was imprisoned for homosexual offences) and accompany them all manner of painful chords and percussive sounds. Unfortunately for me, the work itself descended into the realm of performance art and I found myself sufficiently distracted by the vocal and non-vocal histrionics such that I looked forward to the end of the work. The pianist, Robert Satterlee, chose difficult material to perform and record, which is laudable. And if this sort of contemporary sound is what you gravitate toward, then you might find something of value here. But if you are the cadre of listeners that finds themselves wondering when the noise is going to stop, then I would avoid this particular recording.