PĒTERIS VASKS (b.1946): Episodi e Canto perpetuo, HENRY COWELL (1897-1965): Trio in Nine Short Movements, RODION SHCHEDRIN (b.1932): 3 Funny Pieces, PAUL SCHOENFIELD (b.1947): Café Music.
Catalogue Number: 05S060
Label: CD Accord
Reference: ACD 231-2
Description: This is an intriguing program that works surprisingly well; the very different pieces each has its own way of gripping one's attention. The heavyweight is Vasks' 1985 work; the melodic last part, building an overwhelming climax, is the closest thing to the kind of music Vasks became best known for in more recent years, but the episodes contain hectic, even violent energy - sometimes suggesting Shostakovich, sometimes Messiaen. The piece is a tribute to the French composer, whose influence is strongly felt in sections that resemble the frenetic motion of Joie du sang des étoiles or Regard de l'esprit de joie. By complete contrast, Schoenfield's delicious, brilliantly witty concert-stylization of traditional jazz idioms mixed with Hasidic dance music, is pure entertainment with fresh and unexpected delights with every twist and turn. Shchedrin's humor is edgier. Two grotesquely grinning little gargoyles frame an immensely disrespectful parody of Rossini. The Cowell, a late work, contains very little that might be regarded as 'experimental', but consists of nine miniature movements in which pungent bitonality and beautifully crafted counterpoint abound. AdAstra Piano Trio.