FREDERIC RZEWSKI - The People United Will Never Be Defeated

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FREDERIC RZEWSKI - The People United Will Never Be Defeated! - Ole Kiilerich (Piano) - 090404939228 - Released: December 2012 - Bridge 9392

Listening to Frederic Rzewski's large scale piano solo piece titled The People United will Never be Defeated (36 Variations on the Chilean folk song), is almost comparable to being witness to a few demonstrations of experimental physics. In some instances the composer breaks the main theme down to its nucleus, exposing each and every individual detail of its construct with focused magnification, or stretches its harmonic boundaries to the uttermost reaches of outer expansion. From the absurdly barebone minimal to the excessive Scriabinesque cosmos from one variation to the next. The composer states that "The extended length of the composition may be an allusion to the idea that the unification of the people is a long story and that nothing worth winning is acquired without effort." This is not only a set of variations, but rather a complete, brick by brick, deconstruct and reconstruct of the original song's melody.

Not only does it demand that a pianist have the technical chops to pull it off (after all, super-virtuoso Marc-André Hamelin also recorded this work), but it also begs for an interpreter that can expose its emotive springboard or point of departure. And Danish pianist Ole Kiilerich (in what seems as far as I know to be his first recording) brings that to the forefront. He manages, even throughout all of its permutations and at times oddball points of perspective, to make the listener feel this song's long and arduous history. He makes the listener realize for himself the potential that Frederic Rzewski saw within this simple melody. Ole Kiilerich reaches in and displays the impetus behind each note, within each idea. Something far too rare these days.

Jean-Yves Duperron - March 2013