RECORDING OF THE MONTH
Nikolai KAPUSTIN (b.1937)
2 + 2 4 Kapustin
Concerto for two pianos and percussion, Op. 104 (2002) [21:14]
Eight Concert Etudes, Op. 40 (1984) [24:24]
Sonata 14 Op. 120 (2004) [14:49]
Paraphrase on Dizzy Gillespie's "Manteca" for two pianos [4:12]
Daniel del Pino, Ludmil Angelov (pianos)
Neopercusión (Juanjo Guillem, Rafael Gálvez)
rec. no details supplied. world premiere recordings. SACD
NON PROFIT MUSIC NPM 1011 
Kapustin was born in Gorlovka in the Ukraine. He was a pupil of Alexander Goldenweiser at the Moscow Conservatory in 1961. While his training was classical his performing and compositional inclinations have taken him into the congenial territory of jazz though his work titles and adherence to opus number organisation often suggest adherence to classical form. He may perhaps be compared with Friedrich Gulda though unlike Gulda he never recorded the classical repertoire. His life story and music is nicely summarised by Leslie De’Ath elsewhere on this site. His higher profile has been secured in classical quarters by piano recital on Hyperion (Osborne and Hamelin). It may also have been further heightened by his seeming reluctance to record more extensively - the piano concertos cry out to be recorded. Meantime if you can get hold of them don’t overlook the composer-played Boheme discs listed at the end of the De’Ath article.
CDs of Kapustin are far too rare and it is a delight to welcome this one. The Concerto for two pianos and percussion is for the same forces as the Bartok Sonata. The music explodes like a phantasmagoric firework. Sparks flutter, streams of light explode in a constantly jazzy extended spasm of exultant virtuosity with only the occasional remission. This is glorious playing and wondrous music-making from the NPM team. The recording balance takes no prisoners; it’s in the thick of things and so it continues across the fast rippling and throbbing Concert Etudes many of which remind us of Nancarrow’s pianola extravagances. These are contrasted with slow-motion coruscation or pulsating syncopation. The mix is similar with the Sonata No. 14 in the outer movements. For contrast there’s a bluesy, swaying and melting central movement. The Paraphrase on Dizzy Gillespie's "Manteca" is ruthlessly exciting and is redolent of 1920s Milhaud but overdosed on steroids.
You’ll need a lie-down or a work-out after this! Kapustin rocks!
CDs of Kapustin are far too rare and it is a delight to welcome this one.