NIKOLAI KAPUSTIN (b.1937): Concerto for Cello and Strings No. 2, Op. 103 (Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern; Nicholas Collon), Duet for Cello and Alto Saxophone, Op. 99, Toccatina and Raillery from 8 Concerto Etudes (arr. cello and vibraphone Christine Rauh), Cello and Piano: Sonata No. 2, Op. 84, Nearly Waltz, Op. 98, Elegy, Op. 96, Burlesque, Op. 97, BENYAMIN NUSS/CHRISTINE RAUH: Hommage à Kapustin for Cello and Piano.
Catalogue Number: 03R064
Label: SWR Music
Description: Away from his own instrument, Kapustin tends to explore wider stylistic territory, which is a good thing if you feel that, varied and inventive as his meticulously notated jazz-style pieces are, they form a limited if appealing genre, or not if you think he should stick to the style in which sounds completely unlike anybody else. His cello pieces share the generous approachability and likability of the piano pieces. The concerto is a twenty-five minute work in three movements, warm, witty and mischievous. It is unmistakably jazz-inflected most of the time, but less of a 'jazz piece' than the piano etudes, for example. It bears some resemblance to the Gulda concerto, for which it would make an exceptionally apt programming coupling. The rollicking outer movements are full of syncopation and delicious jazz harmony; the middle movement is luxuriantly neo-romantic and melodic, with humor. The sonata is also substantial, similarly in the 'traditional' three-movements, the first in sonata form, the slow movement capricious and nodding to the early 20th century French way with the influence of jazz, the finale a high-octane chase. If Gershwin had written a cello sonata it might well have sounded rather like this, though Kapustin includes some tongue-in-cheek romantic and neo-baroque gestures as though as to say, see, I could have been a good serious Soviet composer if I'd wanted, and some swinging pure jazz that could be transcriptions of his etudes. The short pieces are varying degrees of quirky, fun and extrovert, closer to the familiar piano style, even the wistful, bluesy elegy straight out of a New Orleans funeral. Christine Rauh (cello), Benyamin Nuss (piano), Ni Fan (vibraphone).