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Rzewski, Bach: Variations / Christopher Hinterhuber

Rzewski / Hinterhuber
Release Date: 01/29/2013 
Label:  Paladino Music   Catalog #: 37   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Frederic RzewskiJohann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Christopher Hinterhuber
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

An increasing number of younger pianists have been taking up Frederic Rzewski’s monumental 1975 set of variations on Sergio Ortega’s Chilean resistance song The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, including Christopher Hinterhuber, whom collectors might know through numerous Naxos releases that include a cycle of Ferdinand Ries’ complete piano concertos.

Rzewski’s variations add up to a veritable tour-de-force of late-Romantic and 20th-century keyboard styles, from jagged, dissonant register leaps at the speed of sound and angular Shostakovich unison lines to waves of relentless rotary patterns, thumping marches, dramatic outbursts, and meditative minimalism. The piece works best when a pianist takes its diverse moods and
Read more textural shifts at face value, while keeping rhythms crisp, phrasings simple, and transitions alive with theatrical purpose.

Rzewski marks the opening theme “With determination”, reflecting the simple ardency needed to get the song’s defiant point across. But he does not indicate the tapered phrases, ritards at cadential points, and similar stock-in-trade interpretive gestures that Hinterhuber trots out in the name of expression, as if he were playing Chopin rather than Rzewski. However, Hinterhuber nails the melodic displacements in Variations 1 and 2 perfectly, and effortlessly negotiates the following four variations’ explosive runs and big, juicy chords. He doesn’t quite convey No. 7’s grace note effects so humorously as in the composer’s own performances or in Marc-André Hamelin’s recording, nor does he distinguish the contrast between No. 15’s improvisatory melody and the walking bass line underneath.

Does Hinterhuber play virtuosic variations faster than he can hear them? Surely Variation 23’s subtle textural shifts and harmonic sleights-of-hand are hard to absorb as they speed by in rapid-transit fashion. Right before the main theme’s return at the conclusion, Rzewski allows the performer to insert an optional cadenza, and Hinterhuber’s attractive improvisation features sparsely deployed chord clusters and lyrical passages. He fills out the disc with a smooth and sensitive reading of Bach’s Variations in the Italian Style.

Although Hinterhuber’s People United surpasses Kai Schumacher and Ralph van Raat for sheer pianistic razzle-dazzle, Hamelin’s musical choices usually come closer to the idiomatic mark. However, Rzewski’s own 1986 HatArt recording (out of print, but well worth hunting down) stands out for the composer’s singular keyboard voice and dramatic concentration.

-- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Variations (36) for Piano on "The People United will Never be Defeated!" by Frederic Rzewski
Performer:  Christopher Hinterhuber (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1975; USA 
2.
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Christopher Hinterhuber (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1741-1742; Nuremberg, Germany 

Sound Samples

The People United will never be Defeated: Thema: Tempo I
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 1: Weaving: delicate but firm
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 2: With firmness
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 3: Slightly slower, with expressive nuances (quarter note = ca. 88)
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 4: Marcato - With determination
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 5: Dreamlike, frozen
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 6: Same tempo as beginning
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 7: Tempo (Lightly, impatiently)
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 8: With agility; not too much pedal; crisp
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 9: half note = 48, Evenly
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 10: Comodo, recklessly (quarter note = 96)
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 11: Tempo I (quarter note = 106)
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 12
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 13: quarter note = 72 or slightly faster
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 14: A bit faster, optimistically
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 15: Flexible, like an improvisation
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 16
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 17: L.H. strictly half note = 36, R.H. freely, roughly as in space
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 18: quarter note = 72
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 19: dotted quarter note = 144, With energy
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 20: Crisp, precise, quarter note = 144
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 21: quarter note = 108, Relentless, uncompromising
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 22: quarter note = 132
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 23: As fast as possible, with some rubato
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 24: quarter note = 72
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 25: quarter note = ca. 84, with fluctuations
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 26: quarter note = 168, In a militant manner
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 27: (quarter note = 72) Tenderly, and with a hopeful expression
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 28: quarter note = 160
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 29: quarter note = 144-152
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 30: (quarter note = 84)
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 31: (quarter note = 106)
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 32
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 33
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 34
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 35
The People United will never be Defeated: Variation 36
The People United will never be Defeated: Optional Improvisation
The People United will never be Defeated: Thema
Aria variata in A minor, BWV 989: Aria
Aria variata in A minor, BWV 989: Variation 1
Aria variata in A minor, BWV 989: Variation 2
Aria variata in A minor, BWV 989: Variation 3
Aria variata in A minor, BWV 989: Variation 4
Aria variata in A minor, BWV 989: Variation 5
Aria variata in A minor, BWV 989: Variation 6
Aria variata in A minor, BWV 989: Variation 7
Aria variata in A minor, BWV 989: Variation 8
Aria variata in A minor, BWV 989: Variation 9
Aria variata in A minor, BWV 989: Variation 10

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