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25.11.04

Dip Your Ears, No. 19

cover
N. Kapustin, Piano Music,
Richard Osborne
Hyperion




cover
N. Kapustin, Piano Music,
Marc-Andre Hamelin
Hyperion

Wanted to go to the jazz section in your local record store but accidentally ended up in classical? Well, don't go back without one of these little jewels. If you listen at first, you may think Chick Corea- or Bill Evans-like piano improvisations. But it's neither American jazz nor is it improvised. It's Russian composer Nikolai Kapustin in music composed about 20 years ago and Hamelin and Osborne actually have to follow scores that are among the most difficult in the piano repertoire.

Both men have the chops for it, and the music itself does not betray its difficulty, nor does their playing. It comes together much better than the best improvisation would. For those who like jazz and classical music, it's a must-have. If so far you like just one of those, but are open-minded, you'll still find it a delight. Not everyday listening but likely to get more play time than many of my CDs. (When trying to chose between the two, start with Hamelin's disc for slightly more variety.)

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