Rzewski: Night Crossing
Ursula Oppens & Frederic Rzewski
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Reseña de álbum
Night Crossing includes four compositions, one of which had appeared on recordings before. That piece, "Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues," is one of Rzewski's most powerful. Here, it's rearranged for two pianos (Ursala Oppens along with the composer) and it doesn't really benefit from the adaptation. While still an extraordinary work, it gains no particular richness from the four hands and, indeed, sounds a little blurrier and less focused. "Night Crossing With Fisherman" is in three sections, the first and third solo movements played by Oppens and Rzewski, respectively, the central one a lengthier part for both pianists. It appears to be an attempt at integrating improvisational techniques with composition, with Rzewski sketching a large number of ten-second-long, spontaneously written fragments, then rewriting and integrating them into larger structures. It's a spiky piece with vaguely romantic-sounding attacks that never come close to an actual melody (unlike the composer's earlier works based on song-forms), but one feels as though there are themes lurking just below the surface. In the final movement, Rzewski surprises the listener by including a brief recitation from a passage in Arabian Nights, complete with accompanying handclaps. The remainder of the disc is made up of two books of "Ludes," very brief numbers once again "written" in an improvisatory style. They are delightfully loose and supple, like a casually beautiful series of snapshots. Fans of Rzewski's larger-scale, grander piano explorations might find themselves pleasantly intrigued at this other aspect of his creative character.
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