WILLIAM BOLCOM (b.1938): Complete Piano Music - New York Lights, Fantasy-Sonata, 3 Dance Portraits, Spring Dances, 12 Etudes, Night Pieces, Conversations with Andre, Estela: Rag Latino, Night Meditations, Romantic Pieces, The Brooklyn Dodge, Variations on a Theme by George Rochberg, Dream Music #1, Ballade.

Catalogue Number: 03T063

Label: Naxos

Reference: 8.559832-34

Format: CD

Price: $35.98

Description: This extremely useful set gathers together all of Bolcom's piano music that you don't already have in your collection. There are many delights here, and some fascinating revelations about the development of this most versatile pianist-composer who has always resolutely refused to respect musical genre boundaries. So we have the young composer in 1960s Paris, hobnobbing with the likes of Boulez and Berio, and playing Messiaen and Pousseur upon his return to the USA, writing a large three-movement, almost atonal Fantasy-Sonata (which in retrospect the composer reveals to have more tonal allegiances than it sounds like), and a set of Etudes "designed ... to be relevant to a wide range of difficult 1960s contemporary piano repertoire by Boulez, Messiaen, Martirano, Stockhausen and others." But also, around the same time and with no sense of self-contradiction, a similarly substantial set of Romantic Pieces in homage to Schumann which manage simultaneously to sound Romantically Schumannesque and neo-Romantically and post-modernistically Bolcomesque. There are later pieces in Bolcom's eclectic, polystylistic (that doesn't sound like anybody else's idea of polystylism), more generally tonal style (Conversations, Meditations, Dance Portraits, the very fine Variations on a theme from Rochberg's Violin Concerto, and the rich, dramatic and harmonically gorgeous Ballade). There are two delicious rags, separated by almost forty years, student pieces that show the composer coming to terms with the avant-garde polemics of the 1950s and 60s, and a concert paraphrase of an operatic aria in the popular 'Neapolitan Song' style. Something for everyone! 3 CDs. Ursula Oppens, Estela Olevsky, Christopher Taylor, Constantine Finehouse (piano).


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