Weissenberg Piano Music
Over the past five years the 27 year old British pianist, Simon Mulligan, has performed for and studied with Weissenberg the works on this disc; indeed, Weissenberg was at the studio for the recording sessions. As a composer, Weissenberg is almost unknown and this disc, which presents his complete compositions to date for piano in world premiere recordings, adds significantly to our appreciation and understanding of an artist who has always aroused contreversy.
Bulgarian-born Alexis Weissenberg will certainly be better known to all as a pianist and this particular CD appears to be the first and only dedicated to Weissenberg the composer.
The Sonata is one of an intended cycle of seven Studies, each attached by title to a different state of mind. The influence of jazz can be heard in the rhythms and harmonies, but above all in the improvisatory nature of the music, which is of course illusory - Weissenberg uses up to four staves to communicate his intentions to the performer precisely. Nevertheless, the work, though generally lyrical, spends much of its time ranging intricately in chromatic territory, with forays into groove-free Skriabinesque atonality that will have jazz aficionados grabbing their coats. The four movements each represent a once-popular dance style - tango, Charleston, blues and samba - that add up to a nostalgic, attractive, if not always strictly coherent whole.