Firebird: 20th Century Transcriptions for Piano | Odradek Records ODRCD312

Firebird: 20th Century Transcriptions for Piano


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Label: Odradek Records

Cat No: ODRCD312

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 9th June 2014



Japanese pianist Aki Kuroda presents four orchestral works from a pair of major centres of European culture, Paris and Vienna, at the dawn of the 20th century, written by four composers who perhaps more than any others were shaping the course of new music at the time. Here heard transcribed for piano solo, she reveals new perspectives on them, allowing us to encounter the music afresh, in its boldest and perhaps most essential form.

The disc opens with a work specially commissioned for the CD, Yoichi Sugiyama’s richly enhanced transcription of Mahler’s Adagietto from the Fifth Symphony. Stravinsky’s Firebird follows, in Guido Agosti’s virtuosic arrangement, and then Leonard Borwick’s atmospheric resetting of Debussy’s masterpiece, Prélude à l’après-midi d'un faune.

Finally comes Steuermann’s incredibly difficult transcription of Schoenberg’s Kammersymphonie, Op.9, a work that extends tonality and human dexterity to its furthest limits.

An artist famous for tango and jazz, a frequent collaborator with Japanese traditional singers, and the performer of the ‘Final Fantasy X. XIII’ videogame soundtracks, Aki Kuroda continues to expand her pianistic horizons to now include the novel tone pallets and expansive sound-space of modern orchestral writing, in the process bringing us intriguingly into closer proximity to the composer, and to the act of composing itself.

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