FREDERIC RZEWSKI (1938-2021): To His Coy Mistress, no place to go but around, Coming Together, Amoramaro, Piano Piece No. 4.

Catalogue Number: 07Y048

Label: Cantaloupe

Reference: CA21173

Format: CD

Price: $19.98

Description: A very personal, superbly chosen (and performed) selection of pieces in tribute to Lisa Moore's longtime mentor and friend, and a timely reminder of the unique brilliance of this maverick, iconoclastic, pianist-composer and political activist, whom she describes as "outspoken, contrarian, outlandish, and opinionated, and yet humble and surprised, even puzzled, as to why the world found him difficult [but a] real mensch who cared deeply for humanity. His works had strong underlying, or overlying, messages of social justice …". It takes a certain type of performer to tackle Rzewski's work; beside being technically and expressively fearless, a high adrenaline improviser, and capable of switching idioms in the blink of an eye, the ability to be an accomplished actor on demand and to step outside the customary boundaries of the concert platform are also essential. The brilliant, unmistakably Rzewskian variation-writing of No Place to Go but Around sounds like a study for The People United, and indeed was written in the previous year. This will be essential listening for admirers of the exuberantly, extravagantly all-inclusive larger and more famous work. Moore provides the substantial improvisation called for in the score, gleefully expounding on the composer’s prescribed rules. Coming Together was Rzewski's response to the riot at the Attica Correctional Facility in New York in 1971, which ended in bloodshed and the deaths of 33 prisoners. The work comprises a dramatic recitation of a text from a letter by one of the slain prisoners who had been an anti-apartheid and anti-Vietnam war activist, Sam Melville, who had resorted to bombing public buildings. The piano part is an obsessively, furiously driven pentatonic bass line (with harmonies and other parts derived from it by rules prescribed by the composer), which metamorphoses in very much the manner of the minimalism that was in the air in New York around that time. Amoramaro, receiving its world premiere recording here, was written for Moore to a commission by her husband, composer Martin Bresnick, and was one of Rzewski’s last works. It sounds like a kind of summing-up, with gestures, chord sequences, and excerpts of melodies that all sound characteristic of the composer, like two old friends reminiscing over a scrapbook of memories. The Four Piano Pieces were a kind of sequel to The People United, and No.4 shares elements of the harmonic and melodic appeal (with similar Andean contours) and protesting fervour with that masterwork, combined with the fearsome mechanistic brutality of Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues. To His Coy Mistress sets the exaggerated, sometimes surreal imagery of Andrew Marvell's famous "carpe diem" (or else see what awaits you, seems to be the subtext) poem to be sung (as here) or recited against a deceptively folk-like, suspiciously ironic-sounding accompaniment (and the flight from Time’s terrifyingly mechanistic wingèd chariot sounds more panicked than amorous). Thoroughly emblematic of Rzewski's quirky genius. Lisa Moore (piano, voice).


(requires cookies enabled)


Need to register? Click here.

(requires cookies enabled)

Your cart is currently empty.