Notes and Editorial Reviews
8 Concert Etudes. 24 Preludes in Jazz Style
Catherine Gordeladze (pn)
NAXOS 8572272 (75:13)
First of all, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank
for introducing me to the music of Nikolai Kapustin. He represents, to my way of thinking, the most perfect fusion of jazz and classical principles in music of tremendous imagination and great emotional power.
Concerning this disc, neither of the series
of works presented here is new to CD. Marc-André Hamelin gave us the Eight Concert Etudes on Hyperion 67433, and Steven Osborne recorded the 24 Preludes in Jazz Style on Hyperion 67159, way back in 1999. But Catherine Gordeladze has her own take on these works, and
does she swing! In fact, I hate to sound heretical since I am a huge Hamelin fan, but to my ears her performances of the etudes are even jazzier than his.
As for the music, even though it’s been described in these pages before by others, I must point out that Kapustin has unlocked the key to combining jazz and classical: improvise passages into being, record them and write them out, then build a classical structure around them. It all sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Yet it took 75 years of musical evolution, and a Russian pianist working at a time (the late 1940s–early ’50s) when he must have felt that he was in a cultural vacuum, to come up with this wonderful formula. Kapustin particularly cites Oscar Peterson as his primary inspiration, and this is certainly fair; yet I also hear echoes of Bud Powell, Art Tatum (streamlined Tatum, without the occasional superfluous keyboard-long glisses), Earl Hines, and even a little Lennie Tristano. Not a bad combination, by any means.
If you already have the Osborne and Hamelin CDs, and your finances are tight, you probably won’t need this disc; but if you only have the Hamelin, I’d have to say this CD is a must. I just
the way Gordeladze crushes those flatted fourths and fifths, and the way she dive-bombs those descending keyboard glisses. Honey, you make my heart sing!
FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
Works on This Recording
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