Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Aaron Copland - Four Piano Blues

1. Freely Poetic (for Leo Smit)

2. Soft and Languid (for Andor Foldes)

3. Muted and Sensuous (for William Kapell)

4. With Bounce (for John Kirkpatrick)

Leo Smit, piano

And as played by the composer

If the quality of the recording had been better I wouldn't have posted the performances by Leo Smit, excellent as those are.   There is something special about hearing a composer play their own music on their own instrument.

It strikes me as a good strategy to get four first-rate piano players to play your work if you dedicate a set of four pieces to them.  I don't know if any of the others recorded them,  William Kapell died in a plane crash in 1953, though Foldes and Kirkpatrick as well as Smit lived for quite a long time after.    It's interesting to note the difference between the fourth piece dedicated to John Kirkpatrick and the second of Carl Ruggles' Evocations, also dedicated to Kirkpatrick but which could hardly be different in tone and content.  I believe it is John Kirkpatrick playing, though that isn't indicated.  

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