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Rzewski Plays Rzewski: Piano Works, 1975-1999

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  • Adams, Reich, Glass, Frisell Music to Be Featured at 8 Days in June Festival

    Works by John Adams, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Frederic Rzewski, Bill Frisell, John Zorn, John Cage meet the music of Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Beethoven at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's second annual 8 Days in June music festival, which kicks off tonight. It's a multidisciplinary affair aiming to examine the relationship between music and the explosive changes of the 20th and 21st centuries and harness the "The Power of Change."

  • Frederic Rzewski's 70th Birthday Celebrated with Concerts at Gilmore Festival and Carnegie Hall

    April 13 marked the 70th birthday of composer Frederic Rzewski, who, in 2002, performed his own works for piano on a seven-disc collection, Rzewski Plays Rzewski: Piano Works, 1975-1999, released by Nonesuch. This week, the composer will celebrate with three special concert events: tonight and tomorrow as part of the renowned Gilmore Keyboard Festival and this Thursday in Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall in New York.

About this Album

Emerging in the 1960s with the improv collective Music Elettronica Viva, expatriate American composer Frederic Rzewski has spent his entire career apart from what he has described as the “elitist contemporary music establishment,” and has established his own unique compositional style in which improvisation and composition are inextricably linked.

Nonesuch Records celebrates Rzewski’s distinctive body of work with the release of a 7-CD, 25-year retrospective of the composer’s piano-based work, Rzewski Plays Rzewski: Piano Works 1975-1999, on September 24, 2002. The discs feature all new recordings performed by the composer of such classic works as The People United Will Never Be Defeated! and De Profundis, a dramatic work incorporating the Oscar Wilde letter to Lord Alfred Douglas, spoken by the pianist. Also included are Mayn Yingele, inspired by the verse of Morris Rosenfeld, poet of the New York sweatshops; the Piano Sonata, with variations on “L’Homme Armé”; the Fantasia; and four of eight parts of The Road, a seven-hour work he has been assembling since 1995, conceptualized as being “like an epic Russian novel in the tradition of Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky.” Extensive liner notes by Rzewski himself and long-time colleague Christian Wolff are also included in the packaging.

He was a student of Charles Mackey in the 1950s; at Harvard and Princeton he met valued kindred spirits such as Christian Wolff and David Behrman. Moving to Rome with a Fullbright Scholarship in 1960, he found his unique voice, felt freed from academia, and he settled there to create his own brand of provocative music. Rzewski currently resides in Brussels, where he has been Professor of Composition at the Conservatoire Royal de Musique in Liège, Belgium, since 1977.


Frederic Rzewski, piano

Produced and edited by Marc-Henri Cykiert
Recorded March 1998-March 2001 at Odéon 120/The Right Place, Brussels
Sound Engineer: Michaël W. Huon
Piano: Steinway D274 (Pianos Maene, Brussels)

Design by John Gall
Photography by Michael Wilson

Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz

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