May 14, 2010

The Rite of Spring, version for solo piano Analekta AN 29932

“The Sacred Spring of Slavs CD features the work of an unknown Ukrainian composer, Ihor (or Igor) Shamo, whose pleasant Hutsulian Watercolours are a fitting tribute to their name, as well an exceptional creative feat: an arrangement for solo piano by Serhiy Salov of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. It’s a daring wager, when one considers the complexity of the orchestral work and the composer’s virtuostic deployment of the four-hand arrangement for piano—a composer who, in 1916, also created a piano reduction for pianola, a hiccoughing thing that can be heard on conductor Benjamin Zander’s website and that in no way compares, from a musicality standpoint, to the sheer frenzy of Salov’s arrangement. The Ukrainian pianist could well make a name of himself with this daring though masterfully-executed project. My only reservation has to do with some of the calmer sections (e.g. Spring Rounds), which seem a little disassembled and bring down the level of excitement. A minor reservation in the face of such a feat.”