Wuorinen: Piano Sonata No. 3; Capriccio

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: Col legno
WORKS: Piano Sonata No. 3; Capriccio
PERFORMER: Alan Feinberg (piano)
Three of these recordings appeared a few years ago on Koch, and Alan Feinberg’s plainly an enthusiast for Wuorinen’s music. But to call the Third Sonata ‘one of the towering compositional achievements of the last hundred years’ is taking special pleading too far. It’s certainly a work of energy and considerable formal strength, but there are still passages which feel like note-spinning, and the contrapuntal clarity, which sometimes has a flavour of Elliott Carter, can seem self-serving. Still, there’s no doubt that the music gets the best possible advocacy from Feinberg, whose timing and control of dynamics and internal balance


are always of the highest quality.

His virtuosity is completely at the service of the music, and well served throughout by the recording.


The Blue Bamboula (a title unexplained in the booklet) occupies the same sort of generalised serial stylistic territory, but it’s more concentrated and effective in holding the attention. As are the Bagatelle, where there’s a more contemplative approach to the piano, and a sense of real understanding of the sonority of the instrument, and the flighty Capriccio (quoting Gershwin en passant), which almost lives up to its title. Unlike the short, undanceable Waltz. As a whole, rather grey music terrifically played. Martin Cotton