Kapustin: Piano Music

Kapustin: Piano Music

by Marc-André HamelinMarc-André Hamelin


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Lest his classical-sounding titles mislead, Nikolai Kapustin's piano music is little more than virtuosic cocktail jazz, and it should not be taken as anything more advanced or serious. This 2004 disc of solo piano works may appeal to a small crossover audience, but the music's surface glitter and easy-to-absorb tunes are not enough to mask its emotional shallowness, and the appeal of this ostentatious music quickly wears thin. Kapustin delights in flashy runs, turbulent arpeggios, elaborate syncopations, and stride bass lines -- all meticulously notated, without any improvisation -- and his energetic music stylistically lies somewhere between Franz Liszt and Art Tatum, though without the passion of the former or the poetry of the latter. One may marvel that a modern Russian composer has so completely adopted American jazz piano styles and written such elaborate works in this idiom. However, the music is relentless in its activity and extremely tiresome, and the listener is unlikely to detect any trace of personality or originality in these pastiches. Marc-André Hamelin has ample opportunity to display his phenomenal technique and flamboyant style, yet his playing is only as moving as Kapustin's hollow pieces allow. Hyperion's recording is fine, but a bit too resonant, and the piano is slightly distant.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/13/2004
Label: Hyperion
UPC: 0034571174334
catalogNumber: 67433
Rank: 59661


  1. Variations, for piano, Op. 41
  2. Jazz Concert Etudes (8) for piano, Op. 40
  3. Bagatelles (10) for piano, Op. 59: No. 9
  4. Suite in the Old Style, for piano, Op. 28
  5. Piano Sonata No. 6, Op. 62
  6. Sonatina for piano, Op. 100
  7. Études (5) in Different Intervals, for piano, Op. 68

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