Magazine article Gramophone

Adolphe

Magazine article Gramophone

Adolphe

Article excerpt

Adolphe

Chopin Dreams. Piano Puzzlers. Seven Thoughts Considered as Music Carlo Grante pf Naxos American Classics (M) 8 559805 (64' * ODD)

It's ironic that Bruce Adolphe is best known for his Piano Puzzler stylistic parodies on the syndicated public radio programme Performance Today, for his original compositions convey a compelling voice, high craft, authenticity, communicative immediacy and substance. This is especially true for Chopin Dreams, whose six sections are modelled upon specific Chopin works, yet somehow avoid sounding overly clever or referential.

The opening movement, 'New York Nocturne', features rapid right-hand fioritura that is not so much decorative as it is urgently narrative. 'Jazzurka' may draw inspiration from Chopin's A minor Mazurka, Op 17 No 4, yet Adolphe's steady left-hand chords chart thicker, more forbidding waters. The fresh pitch choices and canny asymmetry of 'Piano Popping' transcend its percussive hip hop inspiration, while 'Brooklyn Ballad' might superficially be described as Chopin's G minor Ballade filtered through Frederic Rzewski's Four North American Ballads (it totally works). Oddly, the insistent pulse of the concluding 'Hora' seems closer to a hip hop sensibility than a Jewish wedding. …

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