NIKOLAI KAPUSTIN (b.1937): Variations, Op. 41, Toccatina, Op. 36, Andante, Op, 58, Aquarela do Brasil, Op. 118, Day-Break, Op. 26, Etudes, Op. 40, Nos. 1-3 and 6-8, Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 54.
Catalogue Number: 05Q076
Label: Piano Classics
Description: By now, most of us know what to expect from Kapustin, and this disc provides an hour of exactly that. This is in no sense 'crossover' music; tihe thing that makes Kapustin unique is that his music is authentic jazz, in every particular save one; it contains no improvisation. The only sense in which it is a 'fusion' idiom is the effortless integration of different jazz styles - stride, bebop, ragtime, you name it - in an amalgam of the styles of great jazz pianists who generally adopted a particular idiom and stuck to it. The forms are rigorously classical, as is the notation; the sonata is a four movement structure in sonata form, the études function as technical studies in particular techniques or textures, the variations are variations on a theme (but they sound like a brilliant improvisor exploring a tune from a book of 'standards'- and just wait until the tune is clearly revealed about 2\3 through the piece - and so on; but the content is pure jazz. So the results are extremely enjoyable (unless you don't like jazz in any form), pianistically exhilarating, and because the piecess are precisely structured and notated they contain no longeurs, sounding like an improvising jazzman who is 'on' all the time and never misses a beat. Great fun! Sukyeon Kim (piano).