Chopin's two piano concertos have long been admired more as pianistic vehicles than as integrated works for piano and orchestra. But in his revelatory new recording, Krystian Zimerman suggests otherwise: The opening orchestral tuttis have so much more light, shade, orchestral color, and detail, you wonder if they've been rewritten. Every gesture, every instrumental solo is so specifically characterized that by the time the piano makes a dramatic entrance, the pieces have become operas without words.
John Cage’s innovative work and unorthodox ideas profoundly affected Western music during the latter half of the 20th century, and this second of two volumes (volume 1 can be heard on Naxos 8.559773) concludes Katrin Zenz’s survey of his complete works for flute. The earlier chromatic compositions include an astonishing variety of playing techniques and a bewildering rhythmic complexity, while the elements of chance in the later works result in music that is always undergoing kaleidoscopic processes at once arbitrary and intensely focussed in form and expression.
If Eternal Rhythm was Don Cherry's world fusion masterpiece of the '60s, then Brown Rice is its equivalent for the '70s. But where Eternal Rhythm set global influences in a free jazz framework, Brown Rice's core sound is substantially different, wedding Indian, African, and Arabic music to Miles Davis' electrified jazz-rock innovations. And although purists will likely react here the same way they did to post-Bitches Brew Davis, Brown Rice is a stunning success by any other standard. By turns hypnotic and exhilarating, the record sounds utterly otherworldly: the polyrhythmic grooves are deep and driving, the soloing spiritual and free, and the plentiful recording effects trippy and mysterious.