Here is an exhilarating disc that will get your feet tapping! Nikolai Kapustin (born 1937) studied the piano at the Moscow Conservatoire with Alexander Goldenweiser, and is a prolific composer, especially for his own instrument. His style is a fascinating and distinctive blend of classical and jazz styles, as he expounds his jazz-based melodic and rhythmic ideas within the structures of classical sonata form. The jazz influence is of course nothing new: many composers, including Ravel and Poulenc, have incorporated jazz elements in their work, but whereas their music makes occasional and relatively superficial reference to jazz, Kapustin's is unthinkable without it. The first two piano sonatas (he has so far written ten) both date from 1989, and display a deep merging of disparate stylistic elements tempered by a careful control of structure. The hallmarks of Kapustin's style are evident throughout: the scintillating virtuosity and jazz-influenced syncopations, with the occasional walking bass and doses of swing, boogie-woogie, and the raw energy of Art Tatum. The Preludes also present a great variety of jazz styles, including blues, ballad, jazz waltz, swing and a hint of jazz funk. Steven Osborne is one of the most exciting young British pianists, and the jazz idiom is wholly natural to him. Having discovered this wonderful music, he has managed to get hold of many rare scores and manuscripts from Russia (some from the composer himself) in order to make this recording. The result is a revelation, and one you'll undoubtedly want to play to your friends.
PREISES DER DEUTSCHEN SCHALLPLATTENKRITIK EMPFEHLUNG, KLASSIK HEUTE CLASSIC CD DISC OF THE MONTH 'Engaging, often witty, jazz-inspired works that are highly recommended, especially to lovers of Gershwin or Billy Mayerl' (Gramophone) 'Osborne's dazzling playing and excellent booklet notes get top billing. So do Hyperion's gorgeous sonics. Buy this disc and be thoroughly entertained.' (International Record Review) 'Kapustin's synthesis is well-crafted, has some exciting moments and generally exudes a breezy élan. It is also superbly performed by Osborne.' (BBC Music Magazine) 'Everything on this surprisingly sunny disc is full of ear-catching delights; and it s hard to imagine a listener who won t be captivated. The performances are every bit as attractive as the music. In sum, we have a major new pianist on our hands' (Fanfare, USA) 'It s hard to imagine it better done. Recommended' (International Piano Quarterly) 'At last! A worthwhile jazz-classical fusion!' (Classic CD) 'Exudes great energy and dazzling brilliance. Outstanding performances by Steven Osborne. An invigorating disc by any standards' --Classic CD