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Piano Music of Salonen, Stucky and Lutoslawski

Piano Music of Salonen, Stucky and Lutoslawski

July 22, 2008

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8:00
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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: November 30, 2007
  • Label: Telarc
  • Total Length: 1:11:26
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001B5H3RQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,192 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Sir Butternut Longsword VINE VOICE on October 22, 2008
Format: Audio CD
As far as I know[I do not have the booklet] this is the first recording of the Lutoslawski Piano Sonata. And what a debut it is!!! Its style might be considered like late Prokofiev's sonata's[a mix of the eight and nine] mixed in with an unexpected[for Luto] lyricism and beauty. This is obviously before Luto found his own voice, though there are hints of it. Regardless of anything external, this is a marvelous sonata, no matter who composed it, or when, or why.
The other dominant work here is Dichotomie, composed by Esa-Pekka Salonen. Salonen has revealed himself to be a composer with an incredible ear for sonority, orchestration, and effect. Dichotomie is, basically a piano reduction of his orchestral work Foreign Bodies[an excellent and compelling work]. Again, I would suggest it has an affintiy to Prokofiev with its driving toccata-like rhythms, though on an entirely more complex level. I would be curious to know whether the orchestral FB came first, or this. It also reminds me of Stravinksy in a sense. Again, this is music that is connected, continous, and accessible-no blimp, bloop, disconnected chords smashes. Everyone can listen and enjoy.
Salonen contributes two other pieces, YTA II and Three Preludes. The three preludes are interesting, though perhaps not as individual or initialy penetrating as Dichotomie or the Sonata. Of much interest to Salonen fans and also those who are loving the fact that good music is being written for the piano again.
Some of my favourite works on this disc are Steven Stucky's Four Albums[scenes?}. Again, it is remarkable how consistent and interrelated this entire program is.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 31, 2010
Format: Audio CD
This 2008 disc features solo piano works by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Steven Stucky and Witold Lutoslawski performed by Gloria Cheng. My review will treat only the Salonen and Lutoslawski.

Esa-Pekka Salonen is represented by three pieces. The early "Yta II" (1985) shows the composer still following a European modernist path, with bleep-bloop textures. While Salonen soon entered a prolonged hiatus after which he repudiated modernism for its "taboos", this early work is still quite attractive. If you like Boulez's piano music or Magnus Linderg's very early pieces for the instrument, you'll feel right at home with "Yta II".

Salonen's 3 Preludes for solo piano (2005) are related to his Piano Concerto of 2007, one of the most exciting concertos for the instrument written in our time (hear it with Yefim Bronfman on a fine DG disc). The first of the preludes, "Libellula meccanica" (Mechanical Dragonfly) features the fluttering theme heard thoughout the concerto, the following "Chorale" is reminiscent of the concerto's slow movement, while the last prelude "Invenzione a due voci" is similar to the turning point from the slow movement to the climax.

Finally, Salonen's "Dichotomie" (2000) is a two-movement work for solo piano that contrasts "mechanical" material with "organic" material, a concern that Salonen has had through his entire career. It's catchy in parts, and its virtuosity is admirable, but I think it goes on a bit longer than necessary. "Dichotomie" was written for Gloria Cheng, though I prefer Yefim Bronfman's.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
For all those who shy away from "modern" composers because they're, well, modern, here's an album that was clearly assembled just for y'all. The three-star reviewer who carps because these aren't the hard-hitting works of avant-garde Salonen and Lutosławski gloriously misses the point: they weren't *meant* to be, any more than a collection of Beethoven's bagatelles are meant to be the Hammerklavier Sonata or the Grosse Fugue. These are delightful, airy pieces in styles not normally associated with their composers, played remarkably well, with great sensitivity and and crystalline tone, by Ms. Cheng. If you like being in the 20th century but want to take a break from Mikrokosmoses and Threnodies for victims of various catastrophes, this disc is for you. (It's odd that the Lutosławski's piano sonata was long thought lost; I wonder if Stephen Sondheim was hiding it, as there's a section in one of the numbers of his Frogs that has a melody that's very similar.)

In short here's 20th century music we don't hear very often. It's not earth-shaking, disruptive music, but neither was everything Brahms, Chopin and Mozart wrote either. This is, instead, a breath of fresh air, something you'll turn to again and again. Highly recommended, and I'd like to hear more of Gloria Cheng.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David Thierry on January 28, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Really not difficult music at all. In fact, most of the pieces sound like Debussy which was a pleasant surprise. There are some pieces that sound more like Stravinsky in his neo-classical period. Very well played. I was quite pleased with the disc.
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