WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Bowles: Complete Piano Works, Vol. 2 / Invencia Piano Duo


Release Date: 06/10/2016 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559787   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Paul Bowles
Performer:  Oksana LutsyshynAndrey Kasparov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Invencia Piano Duo
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This CD contains Bowles' most performed score, Night Waltz, the first of the Three Pieces for Two Pianos, which opens the CD. Rhythmically, this is a complex work of polyrhythms. It's the sort of thing he may have heard in the Tangiers streets and was written in the same year as the novel. The middle Nocturne was composed fourteen years earlier but the finale with its jazzy exoticism dates from 1976.

Bowles had been an inveterate traveller even before 1947 as the Four Piano Pieces demonstrate. The first, the rather neo-classical Impasse de Tombouchtou also refers to a dingy street in Thiviers in Southern France. Café sin Nombre and Carretera de Estapona refers to Southern Spain. Estapona, now a glamorous seaside town
Read more can almost be seen from Tangiers, and is, I recall, a pleasant boat trip away. Surrounded by a dry and desert landscape it was much more basic and village-like in Bowles’ day. The opening, with its massive chords, reminds us that it is surrounded by those startlingly blue, imposing mountains. In between these pieces is an elegant and tonally ambiguous Theseus and Maldoror inspired by Greek legend.

Bowles’ travel diaries continue with the Three Latin American Pieces. It’s Mexico which is celebrated in movement 1 with its lively rhythms (El Bejuco) and Costa Rica in 3 (Sayula). Despite their brevity these pieces attract immediately. Movement 2 (Orosi) is delicate and is succeeded by a dance-like episode reminding me of Mompou’s Canço i dansa which was also composed during the mid-1940s.

In the detailed and helpful booklet notes Andrey Kasparov describes the Sonatina Fragmentaria as having “crystalline sonorities”. The tiny middle movement is somewhat Spanish in flavor while the outer ones are more thoughtful and enigmatic. All in all, this amounts to a series of attractive mosaics.

South of Morocco, in the Atlas Mountains, is Tamanar. Views from this village inspired this austere, striking and unusually dissonant mini-tone poem. Bowles went there with Aaron Copland who had just completed his equally austere Piano Variations. Bowles discovers some intriguing sonorities. It's a great shame that he did not pursue this style very often.

The Four Miniatures are practically polytonal and pointillistic but are in Bowles’ usual light-hearted manner with Reverie having a touch of Spain about it again. The Sonatina is neo-classical, almost Poulencian. There is no sense of classical development; in other words the Germanic influence Bowles so disliked is disregarded in favour of the interconnection of fragments. The middle movement is a lyrical Andante Cantabile with a long line which reaches a strong climax.

The last seven tracks are devoted to arrangements for piano duet of miscellaneous Bowles pieces. Kasparov selected four songs, apparently quite popular, originally from 1946, all in a light jazz style and called them Blue Mountain Ballades. Gold and Fizdale took three miscellaneous pieces. The first, Colloquy Sentimental is the only surviving material from a lost Bowles ballet score. The next, Caminata again betrays a Spanish influence and is part of a ballet set in Mexico. The last, Turkey Trot is a sort of wild Scott Joplin essay and brings the CD to a zany conclusion.

This disc proved more attractive and interesting than I had expected. Although Bowles may be a better writer than a composer he certainly deserves his place in the Naxos American Classics series.

– MusicWeb International (Gary Higginson)

The performances are beautifully idiomatic, capturing the brittle character, whimsicality and subtle power of the music.

– Gapplegate Classical/Modern Music Review Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Night Waltz by Paul Bowles
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Invencia Piano Duo
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; USA 
2.
Nocturne for 2 Pianos by Paul Bowles
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Invencia Piano Duo
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; USA 
3.
Cross Country by Paul Bowles
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Invencia Piano Duo
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1976 
4.
Impasse de Tombouctou by Paul Bowles
Performer:  Oksana Lutsyshyn (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934 
5.
Café sin Nombre by Paul Bowles
Performer:  Andrey Kasparov (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933 
6.
Theseus and Maldoror by Paul Bowles
Performer:  Oksana Lutsyshyn (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933 
7.
Carretera de Estepona by Paul Bowles
Performer:  Andrey Kasparov (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; USA 
8.
Sonatina Fragmentaria by Paul Bowles
Performer:  Oksana Lutsyshyn (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933 
9.
Prelude for Piano "For Bernard Suares" by Paul Bowles
Performer:  Andrey Kasparov (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932; USA 
10.
Portrait of KMC by Paul Bowles
Performer:  Andrey Kasparov (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; USA 
11.
Reverie by Paul Bowles
Performer:  Andrey Kasparov (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932; USA 
12.
Sarabande for Piano by Paul Bowles
Performer:  Andrey Kasparov (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; USA 
13.
El Bejuco by Paul Bowles
Performer:  Andrey Kasparov (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943 
14.
Orosi by Paul Bowles
Performer:  Oksana Lutsyshyn (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948 
15.
Sayula by Paul Bowles
Performer:  Oksana Lutsyshyn (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946 
16.
Tamanar by Paul Bowles
Performer:  Andrey Kasparov (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931-1933 
17.
Sonatina for Piano by Paul Bowles
Performer:  Andrey Kasparov (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932-1933; USA 
18.
Blue Mountain Ballads by Paul Bowles
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Invencia Piano Duo
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; USA 
19.
Colloque Sentimental by Paul Bowles
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Invencia Piano Duo
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944 
20.
Caminata by Paul Bowles
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Invencia Piano Duo
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Circa 1940 
21.
Turkey Trot by Paul Bowles
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Invencia Piano Duo
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title