Review Frederic Rzewski: Late Piano Works, Bobby Mitchel, Naxos by James Ellis

Image Juyang Chen

Frederic Rzewski, composer
Bobby Mitchell, piano

Late Piano Works (Naxos)

 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

We lost Frederic Rzewski back in 2021, a maverick American composer who utilised the piano for shocking purposes. In this puzzling recording thanks to the ardent efforts of Bobby Mitchel, we hear some more of the composer’s strange, recent offerings.

Excerpts from Dreams have a ghost of Bach lying within them, pretty harsh at times. His War Songs have a rambunctious nature to it, a mashing up of various songs from his home land. Very easy to point out the similarities to Charles Ives, that titan of musical invocations whom Rzewski does owe a lot. Winter Nights has strange momentums and little of pleasure other than some attacks on the keys. Saints and Sinners starts of feeling like Erik Satie in character, the ironic side of Rzewski never far away. Through it all there was very little to be surprised with in this recording, though I do admire Bobby’s commitment.

Out now on Naxos label, CD and digital download.

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