Transfigured Etudes, Albany Records (TROY1558)

Piano Character Pieces from Four Continents
Piano Character Pieces from Four Continents
Transfigured Etudes: Distant, like a gathering storm | Interlude I – echoes... | après L'ange du foyer | Interlude II – ...phantoms | Omen, unscroll a canon war! (hommage à Nancarrow) recorded on Piano Character Pieces from Four Continents, Richard Zimdars, Piano. Troy, NY: Albany Records (TROY1558). 2015. 
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Transfigured Etudes was written for the 2010 ISCM World New Music Festival. It is not uncommon for composers to spend months or even years on a single work. The idea behind this commission was to see what would come about if composers were limited to just one day in which to write a new piece. There was something very appealing in composing these mercurial outbursts, and the individual movements became a sort of musical journal between other projects. The pieces are transfigurations (in every sense of the word) of particular icons of the keyboard repertoire (24 June — Chopin, 27 June — Louis Couperin, 4 October — Nancarrow (with a fair dose of Liszt, Chopin, Carter and the Charleston)). The subtitle of this final movement is a particularly apt anagram on the name Conlon Samuel Nancarrow — Omen, unscroll a canon war. 


All of the works on this recording may be labeled character pieces, a catchall term that covers compositions that are not sonatas, variations, dances, toccatas, fantasies or fugal works. The term originated in the late 1820s and referred almost exclusively to solo piano pieces. Pianist Richard Zimdars performs 20th and 21st century compositions written by composers from Russia, the U.S., Australia, Korea, and Israel. Zimdars, recently retired from a 40-year teaching and performing career, performed and lectured in Europe, Brazil, Canada and the U.S. His extensive discography includes the complete piano music of Roy Harris (on Albany Records) as well as Charles Ives' four violin sonatas and numerous recordings of works by contemporary composers. He was artistic director of the 2011 American Liszt Society Festival and organizer of the American Liszt Society Bicentennial Composition Competition.

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