CARL VINE (b.1954): Piano Sonatas Nos. 2 and 3, KENDALL KENNISON (b.1967): Glasovir - Fantasy for Piano, GEORGE GERSHWIN (1898-1937)/EARL WILD (1915-2010): 7 Etudes.
Catalogue Number: 01U057
Label: Fleur de Son
Reference: FDS 58044
Description: It is good to welcome a new recording of Vine's superb sonatas, which prove, if proof were needed, that there is nothing outmoded about writing cogently structured works for the 'conventional' piano; it just requires high levels of imagination and compositional technique. The first movement of the second sonata is tumultuous, with insistent declamatory melodies - highly chromatic, and full of unexpected turns - over a thoroughly Romantic undulating stormy or rippling accompaniment. A gorgeous cascade of ornamented melody over an accompaniment in Debussyan parallel chords follows; then the perpetuum mobile second movement picks up the pace with jazzy syncopations and constant motoric propulsion bracketing a quiet pointillistic interlude. The third sonata is more introverted and brooding, with a sense of uneasy harmonic ambiguity extremely reminiscent of Busoni; the piece is a close cousin to the Toccata and the Prélude et Étude en arpèges. When more energetic music emerges in the second and fourth sections, it is again propelled by an exhilarating tide of syncopation and rhythmic drive. Wild's etudes, which elaborate Gershwin's melodies with roulades of virtuosic figuration, are a perennial delight. The new work here is Kennison's Glasovir, the Croatian word for piano. The piece was written for Caroline Hong in tribute to her pianism, and passes through a variety of pianistic styles, with an emphasis on relatively modern harmony. The composer has a connection to Croatia, and he likens the work to a stroll through Zagreb - the bulk of the piece is in a 'walking' meter, with pauses to examine the surroundings and take in the sights and history along the way, with recurring motifs acting as a kind of 'Promenade' to link the episodes together and aid the listener in navigating the piece. Caroline Hong (piano).