Outstanding execution by Jeroen Van Veen with superb sound quality. Einaudi's work is difficult to categorize as he pulls classical, pop, new age and cinematic ideas into thoughtfully crafted modern pieces. Highly appealing because it's simply all very good.
udovico Einaudi's aesthetic of emptiness has won him legions of fans worldwide, and Jeroen van Veen's survey of the piano music which is central to Einaudi's style belongs with his survey of minimalists including Glass and Nyman who are less concerned in music as an expressive language than as a commercial artefact. Likewise, his listeners absorb the music less in the sense of engaging with meaning than as backdrop to activity or release from stress. The works on this compendious collection are nearly all 'songs' of between 3 and 7 minutes, with the influence from pop culture that this brevity implies, and sharing with the pop world an economically aware employment of simplicity and repetition so as not unduly to tax the attention-span of the consumer. As Jeroen van Veen remarks, 'Contrary to ordinary classical music, minimal music demands little of the listener but to escape life's troubles for a moment; no comprehensive musical structures ask their full attention.'
This magnificent collection spans almost half a century, from three of Rachmaninov's Op 39 Etudes-Tableaux that Vladimir Ashkenazy recorded in 1963, to his version of the First Sonata, which was released two years ago. It's wonderfully comprehensive, including the four piano concertos and the Paganini Rhapsody, the works for two pianos (the Suites and the Symphonic Dances with André Previn, some smaller-scale pieces with Ashkenazy's son Vovka), and all manner of occasional pieces and transcriptions as well as the major solo piano works.
The emotional content, lyricism and direct appeal of Gavin Bryars’s music are unique, reflecting a contemporary composer’s absorption and transformation of several centuries of musical craftsmanship in order to reflect his, and our, own epoch. Originally written for harpsichord, After Handel’s Vesper is a strong illustration of Bryars’s post-minimal interests in early music repertoire. Ramble on Cortona, derived from 13th-century music, makes expressive use of the piano’s resonant qualities, while in the highly-coloured, almost impressionistic The Solway Canal, landscapes pass by as if in a dream.
John Cage (1912-1992) was one of the most controversial composers of the 20th century. He is best known for his 1952 work 4'33" which involves not a single note of music being played. This selection of Cage's music provides a rare opportunity to get to know a range of works that were written between the years 1939-65, which were some of the composer's most productive years.
Dutch pianist Ralph van Raat's collection of Arvo Pärt's piano music spans nearly 50 years of his career, from student pieces written in 1958 to a work from 2006. This would not be the right album for listeners looking primarily for Pärt's legendary austere simplicity, but it would be ideal for anyone already familiar with the composer looking for exposure to the broad stylistic and expressive range of which he is capable.