By Duo Perfetto. By Nikolai Kapustin. Classical. CD. Naxos #BRI95560. Published by Naxos (NX.BRI95560).
Item Number: NX.BRI95560
Born in the Ukraine in 1937, Nikolai Kapustin has written over 160 works, most of them involving the piano of which he is himself a skilled performer. Though his music has been associated with the 'Third Stream' that brings together jazz and classical idioms, Kapustin rejects the term for himself: 'the classical part is more important. The jazz style is there to give color - I don't like jazz 'forms'... which is why I've adopted those from classical music.' All the same, there is an unmistakably bluesy, relaxed quality to the Second Cello Sonata from 1998. Kapustin has composed more for the cello than any other instrument, and the instrument's natural affinity with both lyricism and melancholy make a good fit for his own style. Towards the end of the finale there is a momentary sense of dislocation as the cello launches into the Prelude from Bach's First Cello Suite before the two instruments drag the movement back into the modern world. The First Sonata from seven years earlier is briefer and spikier, less expressively effusive but at the same time written more within the cello-sonata tradition from Brahms to Ades, with a central Sarabande and driving Scherzo. The album is completed by three miniatures, all fine examples of Kapustin's good-humoured fusion of idioms: the Nearly Waltz, an Elegy and a Burlesque.