I raved from the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival about a performance of a solo piano piece written by Frederic Rzewski.
Darcy James Argue (seen here), on his blog Secret Society, also raves about Rzewski. Here are the first two sentences from his review of a recital of Rzewski’s music.
In a lot of ways, Frederic Rzewski is a man out of time. Almost everything about him is anachronistic or contradictory or both — he’s a straight-up virtuoso composer-pianist in the Lisztian tradition, an old-school rugged bohemian whose chosen instrument remains a powerful symbol of class privilege, a distinctively American composer who has lived abroad for over 30 years, a gifted improviser who has recorded with fellow bohemians Steve Lacy and Irene Aebi, a student of arch elitists like Milton Babbitt and Roger Sessions who fell in with the wild boys of the New York School crowd (John Cage, Christian Wolff & co.), went on to write some influential early proto-minimalist works, and who in recent decades has returned to an austere 12-tone pitch vocabulary that would seem at odds with his proletarian politics.
Whew. The rest of it is just as breathless, just as informative, although not many of the other sentences are quite that long. To read all of it, go here. Argue’s blog is a good way to look in on parts of the New York scene that you might not know about otherwise. I’m adding it to Other Places in the center column.