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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67159
Recording details: September 1999
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: May 2000
Total duration: 24 minutes 20 seconds

'Engaging, often witty, jazz-inspired works that are highly recommended, especially to lovers of Gershwin or Billy Mayerl' (Gramophone)

'Kapustin's synthesis is well-crafted, has some exciting moments and generally exudes a breezy élan. It is also superbly performed by Osborne.' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Osborne's dazzling playing and excellent booklet notes get top billing. So do Hyperion's gorgeous sonics. Buy this disc and be thoroughly entertained.' (International Record Review)

'At last! A worthwhile jazz-classical fusion! … exudes great energy and dazzling brilliance. Outstanding performances by Steven Osborne. An invigorating disc by any standards' (Classic CD)

'Everything on this surprisingly sunny disc is full of ear-catching delights; and it’s hard to imagine a listener who won’t be captivated. The performances are every bit as attractive as the music. In sum, we have a major new pianist on our hands' (Fanfare, USA)

'It’s hard to imagine it better done. Recommended' (International Piano)

Sonata No 2, Op 54
composer
1989

Allegro molto  [11'11]
Largo  [5'25]

Other recordings available for download
Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Sonata No 2 dates from 1989 and so far constitutes Kapustin’s most extended work in the genre. Written in the bright, sanguine key of E major, it is cast in a traditional four-movement mould. There is, however, nothing at all traditional about the piano writing itself, which teems with interesting and innovative twists and turns, both stylistically and pianistically. Indeed, one remarkable feature of Kapustin’s piano writing is that it is always made to fit the hand beautifully. He always insists on composing at the piano, in order to avoid coming up with figurations which would not fit the hand well. Prokofiev once described one of Nikolai Medtner’s short piano pieces as being so comfortable as to be ‘always right there, under the fingers’. The same can unquestionably be said of Kapustin at any point within the body of his piano works. Indeed, my personal feeling is that, on a purely pianistic level, Kapustin and Medtner tower above any other piano composer in history, as far as pure comfort at the keyboard is concerned.

It is best to leave the listener to discover the many surprises contained in this exuberant work—as well as the various apparent influences—though a couple of features are worth pointing out. The brilliant and overwhelmingly energetic first movement is curiously but very effectively rounded out by a reflective and rather lengthy coda, in great contrast to the ebullience of what came before. And the last movement is unique in its rhythmic framework; it is a perpetual motion set in a repeated pattern of 8+7+8+5 beats, and keeps to this stilted sequence up to the very last bar, resulting in many unexpected accents. Incidentally, this movement is usually thought to have been inspired by the pianism of Art Tatum, but this is because it is often performed too quickly. Kapustin’s stated influence here is the world of country music.

from notes by Marc-André Hamelin © 2008


Other albums featuring this work
'Marc-André Hamelin in a state of jazz' (CDA67656)
Marc-André Hamelin in a state of jazz

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