Thursday, June 23, 2005

Rzewski: Composer-Pianist at Work

A favorite composer/pianist of mine, Rzewski, is reviewed by the Boston Globe's Richard Dyer. Most interesting, at least to me, is his description of Rzewski at the piano. It's so how I've imagined it:

"He doesn't conform to the image of a concert artist, appearing onstage in a red shirt with his pens clipped to its breast pocket; his way of acknowledging applause is to scratch his ear. He made a point of welcoming latecomers (''let them in . . . but don't let them out," he quipped). He does not appear to be interested at all in the piano's historic ability to imitate other instruments, even a full orchestra, or the creamiest legato of an opera singer. Instead he revels in the piano's identity as the most complex and varied of all percussion instruments. Flights of finger-filigree lacework are not for him, but he is almost unrivaled in his range of attack, articulation, and dynamics, all propelled by a sense of rhythm as strong and flexible as a healthy spine. And while he is assaulting the keyboard, some of his music simultaneously requires him to pound patterns on the wooden parts of the instrument, grunt, moan, growl, shout words, whistle, even recite a nursery rhyme.

read the rest

Still hoping to see him perform live one day. Even more so after reading the above.

For those of you interested here's a link to the scores for some of his music courtesy the composer and Jenny Lin.


Adam Baratz said...

It was an excellent recital, nice varied set of pieces. Though it was hard to see his feet, it looked like he was wearing black sandals with black socks. I saw him afterwards and he was wearing a very blunt NO WAR button on his sports coat. I blogged about the concert of his music that went on the night before in the same concert series.

The Well Tempered Blog said...


How cool to hear from someone there !Thanks for posting! Nice blog! Adding you to the WTB blog roll.

Anonymous said...

I knew nothing about this guy., but it seems an interesting pianist and composer (I've just checked "allmusic" web and heard some samples of his music)

The Well Tempered Blog said...

Hola Ferre!

Rzewski is definitely a composer worth getting to know.

You can download a respectable live performance of his composition "Winsboro Cottonmill Blues"

at the following site:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Bart!

Anonymous said...

Besides... there's a strange effect when I enter your blog from Mozilla Firefox: there's a tremendous blank space between de last line of the first post an the line with your name, hour and comment number. This line shows after the vertical cotted line.

All's correct with Internet Explorer instead.

The Well Tempered Blog said...


Thanks for letting me know about the problem with Firefox. I have changed the template while I sort out the issue with the original code. I think Firefox is less tolerant of errors than IE.