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Winging It: Piano Music of John Corigliano

Ursula Oppens , Jerome Lowenthal , Corigliano Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Price: $17.88 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Winging It: I. 12/28/07 3:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Winging It: II. 1/3/08 7:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Winging It: III. 6/7/08 3:20$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Chiaroscuro: I. Light 1:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Chiaroscuro: II. Shadows 4:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Chiaroscuro: III. Strobe 4:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Fantasia on an Ostinato11:34Album Only
listen  8. Kaleidoscope 5:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Etude Fantasy: No. 1. For the Left Hand Alone 4:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Etude Fantasy: No. 2. Legato 1:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Etude Fantasy: No. 3. Fifths to Thirds 2:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Etude Fantasy: No. 4. Ornaments 4:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Etude Fantasy: No. 5. Melody 4:17$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Composer: Corigliano
  • Audio CD (May 31, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Cedille Records
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,932 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This recording of piano music by the widely celebrated American composer John Corigliano (b. 1938) includes the world premiere recording of Winging It (2008), an improvisation-based piece written for the eminent American pianist Ursula Oppens, who also gave the work its concert premiere. Ms. Oppens has been a champion of contemporary composers and new music throughout her career.


10/10: John Corigliano is such an accomplished orchestrator that you might be surprised at how well his piano music sounds. The truth is, he simply has a gift for finding brilliant sonorities no matter what instrument he happens to be writing for. He uses the full range of the piano, often turning to extremes of register, but always to good musical and expressive purpose. The works here are highly varied in style and conception, but are invariably enjoyable.

Winging It, subtitled 'Improvisations for Piano', is exactly what the name implies: three improvisations captured in real time and then subsequently notated. Chiaroscuro requires two pianos tuned a quarter-tone apart, but it never sounds gratuitously dissonant--there's that feeling for sonority again. Fantasia on an Ostinato, based on the famous Allegretto of Beethoven's Seventh, is one of Corigliano's best-known pieces. Kaleidoscope, also for two pianos, is an early jeu d'esprit, while the Etude Fantasy never lets the didactic element get in the way of musical enjoyment.

The performances here are pretty stupendous. Ursula Oppens takes all the solos, and she's joined by Jerome Lowenthal in the duo pieces. Her playing is spirited, subtle, colorful, and wholly winning. She conveys the freedom of the improvisations in Winging It and chooses an excellent timing for the optional repetitions in the Fantasia on an Ostinato (it lasts a bit more than 11 minutes). In Chiaroscuro, careful attention to balance and dynamics reveals the wonderful colors of this evocative score. The beautifully calibrated engineering, brilliant but never harsh or brittle, helps immeasurably. A disc to treasure., David Hurwitz, May 2011

Features 54th Annual Grammy Award Winner, Judith Sherman - Producer of the Year, Classical. --National Association of Recording Arts & Sciences

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Corigliano's piano works in stunning performances June 27, 2011
Format:Audio CD
John Corigliano has been one of America's greatest and best known composers for many years now. Most people are familiar with his large scale works, such as the "Symphony #1", the "Clarinet Concerto", "The Ghosts of Versailles" or maybe his few, but emblematic, film scores, such as "The Red Violin" We do not get to hear his smaller works, especially his output for solo or duo pianos, as often. Here is a wonderful collection that illustrates both his complete mastery as a composer in all genres as well as performances that are wonderful and convincing. Ursula Oppens is an amazing performer with a long list of recordings and repertoire in her accomplishments, especially illustrating her understanding of contemporary music. She is joined on this recording by the equally accomplished Jerome Lowenthal in the two piano works, "Chiaroscuro" and "Kaleidoscope". Every piece on this disc contains the qualities that I love in Corigliano's music. It is intense, dramatic, almost frightening in places; lyrical and placidly beautiful in others. For me, the two most captivating pieces on the program are the first two. "Winging It" is essentially a three movement work based on three improvisations created, then notated with the help of technology and colleague Mark Baechle. The improvisations, created over a six month period, were realized and premiered as "Winging It" at their NY premiere in 2009, with Ms. Oppens. They are tremendous to listen to and outrageously difficult to play. The other standout on this disc is "Chiaroscuro" for two pianos tuned a quarter tone apart. The title, a referenced to the use of shadow and light (from the Italian) in visual art serves as a perfect metaphor for the eery, unsettling effect that the quarter tone tunings have on melody and harmony. Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Corigliano Piano Music June 24, 2011
By DPost
Format:Audio CD
For all his contributions to the opera, orchestral, chamber music and vocal literature, Corigliano's catalogue of piano music remains rather slim. In fact, the complete piano works to date are contained on this new Cedila CD. The pieces here date from 1959 through 2008 and they show both the consistency of imagination and the development of compositional voice.

"Winging it", the most recent composition, is a set of three short improvisations for piano. They are by turns lyrical, propulsive and cragy. The most interesting set on this disc is Chiaroscuro for 2 pianos, one of which is turned a quarter tone lower than the other. While the quarter tone is not uncommonly used in string writing, it is for the piano, and in this case produces some wonderful and fascinating sound; a shadow or "aura" around the tone, making it vibrate in compelling and unexpected ways. The Fantasia on an Ostinato from 1985 creates an opportunity for the performer to shape the piece be selecting from a set of interlocking and repeating patterns. How many and in what way are up to him or her. The theme from the second movement of the Beethoven Seventh Symphony forms the basis of much of the piece.

Ursela Oppens, justly famous for her advocacy of contemporary American music, most notably Elliott Carter, turns in clean, committed performances and is ably partnered in the two piano works by Jerome Lowenthal. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Often startling and always intriguing March 12, 2013
Format:Audio CD
Playing on a Steinway, Ms. Oppens effortlessly captures the remarkable dynamic range of the music from loudest to softest passages. Wonderful piano sound, too.

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor
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