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David Rakowski: Winged Contraption

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, February 10, 2009
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Product Description

BMOP/sound's latest release, "David Rakowski: Winged Contraption," is a compilation of three profound compositions by one of this generation's most visible American composers. "Winged Contraption" is Rakowski's playful and ebullient tribute to composer and friend Martin Boykan, and "Persistent Memory" provides a counterbalance with its reflective and melancholic tenor. The Piano Concerto, which draws upon the composer's own études, ushers forth teasing and surrealistic elements with the appearance of toy piano in each movement. This CD features the brilliant Marilyn Nonken, whose explosive performance, coupled with the dynamic energy of Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, reveal the creative wizardry of David Rakowski.


There are marvelous ideas in David Rakowski's music. At the very end of the slow movement of his Piano Concerto (2006), for instance, the soloist suddenly switches to a toy piano to play a flourish that's at once otherworldly and mischievous. Similarly, the jazzy syncopations and riffs in the movement that follows convey simultaneous feelings of playful spontaneity and lurking menace.

Indeed, there's usually some striking element in Rakowski's work to attract one's attention. In "Winged Contraption" (1991), it might be how the fast, motoric main section is affected by the aching emotion of the slow introduction, which hovers like one of those dark storm clouds that doggedly follow a cartoon character. In the Elegy that opens "Persistent Memory" (1997), it might be the way the long phrases open and spread like tendrils of a fast-growing plant.

And, yet, for all Rakowski's inventiveness and clever ideas, there's something missing, though what exactly that something is is difficult to pinpoint. At first I thought it might be a sense of direction or, to be more precise but less grammatical perhaps, a sense of directedness. But that's not really true. That vegetal Elegy grows quite assuredly until it bursts into the intricate and prickly bloom of the variations that follow.


Certainly, the performances here are top-notch. Pianist Marilyn Nonken, who's had a long association with Rakowski's music, plays the tricky solo part of the Concerto with great flair and finesse. And under Gil Rose's direction, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project has developed into a true virtuoso ensemble.

- By Andrew Farach-Colton --Gramophone

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Product details

  • Performer: Marilyn Nonken
  • Orchestra: Boston Modern Orchestra Project
  • Conductor: Gil Rose
  • Composer: David Rakowski
  • Audio CD (February 10, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: BMOP/sound
  • ASIN: B001P7YDZK
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #489,682 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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October 8, 2013
Format: Audio CD
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