WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Rzewski - Night Crossing - Works For One And Two Pianos

Release Date: 08/19/1997 
Label:  Music & Arts Programs Of America Catalog #: 988   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Frederic Rzewski
Performer:  Ursula OppensFrederic Rzewski
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Because it's the most immediately accessible of the piano disc's works, let's begin with this two-piano version of Rzewski's hard-driving, viscerally affecting Winnshoro Cotton Mill Blues of 1980. (For the original, spectacularly recorded solo assault, see hatART 6089, North American Ballads & Squares, Frederic Rzewski performing.) The piece pictures its subject, a cotton mill at full tilt, as handily as any tone poem I can think of, working itself thence into a neat transition to the eponymous job-lament dating from the 1930s ("Old man Sargent, sittin' at his desk I The damned old fool won't give us a rest I He'd take the nickels offa dead man's eyes . . . ").

Night Crossing with Fisherman (1994), for two
Read more pianos (Ursula Oppens is the dedicatee), isn't quite as thematically coherent as its title suggests. The work divides into three parts, "Night," a moody introspection for piano solo; the aptly titled "Crossing," for two pianos in intense conversation; and "Fisherman," for piano solo and Rzewski's recitation of a passage from the Arabian Nights (politically relevant, of course) about a fisherman who labors through the night for a man asleep. (Presumably it is Oppens who takes the "Night" solo.)

Winnshoro Cotton Mill Blues makes its mark by kicking subtlety out the door. By contrast, Ludes I and 2, of 12 short pieces each (the longest, 1:41, the shortest, 0:38), insinuate themselves into one's affections, playful, will-o'-the-wisp creatures that they are, by degree. Rzewski does an excellent, often fascinating job of explaining his music's background and form. So I won't trouble to summarize his "how these delights came about." Suffice that they range widely in substance and mood, happily short of Rzewski's affection for maul-driven social panaceas.

-- Mike Silverton, FANFARE
Read less

Works on This Recording

Night Crossing with Fisherman by Frederic Rzewski
Performer:  Ursula Oppens (Piano), Frederic Rzewski (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1994; USA 
Ludes, Book 1 by Frederic Rzewski
Performer:  Frederic Rzewski (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990; USA 
North American Ballads (4) for Piano: no 4, Winnsboro cotton mill blues by Frederic Rzewski
Performer:  Frederic Rzewski (Piano), Ursula Oppens (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1979; USA 
Notes: Arranged: Frederic Rzewski (1980) 
Ludes, Book 2 by Frederic Rzewski
Performer:  Frederic Rzewski (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991; USA 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title