6 votes

Classical entrée: Nikolai Kapustin ― Eight Concert Études, No. 6. "Pastorale" [2:30]

2 comments

  1. wirelyre
    Link
    This is an idea I've had for a while about sharing classical music! I think it can be really hard to get into classical music because the pieces are so long. If you aren't already immersed in the...

    This is an idea I've had for a while about sharing classical music!

    I think it can be really hard to get into classical music because the pieces are so long. If you aren't already immersed in the genre, finding something you like can be boring or frustrating.

    So I thought I'd try a series of posts:

    • Near the beginning of the week, a short piece (ideally around 3 minutes) ― an entrée.
    • Near the end of the week, a longer piece that's stylistically or thematically related ― a pièce de résistance.

    The idea is that if you like the shorter work, you'll probably be interested in the longer one too. Even if you don't, maybe the entrée will make the main course more palatable!

    I think I'll try this for a few weeks, then based on the response I'll decide whether to continue.

    If anyone has a better metaphor than "entrée/pièce de résistance" please tell me. My first idea was "wine/meal", but it's not as catchy.

    2 votes
  2. wirelyre
    Link
    Nikolai Kapustin (1937–) started classical piano when he was very young. During his time at the Moscow Conservatory and long after, he performed as a jazz pianist in big bands. This piece, as many...

    Nikolai Kapustin (1937–) started classical piano when he was very young. During his time at the Moscow Conservatory and long after, he performed as a jazz pianist in big bands.

    This piece, as many of his compositions, is heavily influenced by jazz harmony and melodic and rhythmic figures. But in naming this set "Eight Concert Études", he is explicitly evoking a classical genre: that of the étude, or technical study.

    Historically, most études work a single well-defined technical challenge. These études are a bit different because they don't really have a focus. You might say they're just "hard" :-). In that respect they're more "concert piece" than "étude".

    Besides being an absolute blast to listen to, I think this is one of Kapustin's cleanest and most well-constructed pieces. Its form is crystal clear: a primary theme [13:40] and a secondary theme [14:14], alternating, each with variations, until the coda [15:51] wraps it all up. It's all so economical, not a beat wasted ― yet the themes are explored so completely that it feels like it couldn't possibly run any longer.

    1 vote