When most listeners pick up this CD, they'll have reasonable expectations of the performance of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, but few will be able to guess much about Alexander Raskatov's Piano Concerto, "Night Butterflies." Composed in 2012-2013, this work was inspired by a nocturnal visit to a butterfly greenhouse, and it is cast in 12 brief movements that evoke the fluttering and shifting colors of butterflies. These images are represented in the elaborate piano part that Raskatov composed specifically for Tomoko Mukaiyama, who performs in this recording. The concerto was co-commissioned by the Seattle Symphony and the Netherlands Residentie Orkest at The Hague, and this recording provides the first opportunity for many to discover this imaginative composer. The fascinating interweaving of the piano with the orchestra shows Raskatov to be a strong colorist, a master of textures, and a dynamic manipulator of rhythms, characteristics that make the pairing with The Rite of Spring especially appropriate. Mukaiyama's spectacular playing and the skillful accompaniment of Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony make this concerto a fitting opener for the program. Morlot's lucid and measured interpretation of The Rite of Spring more than meets expectations, and the orchestra delivers a compelling version that is as vibrantly colorful and energetic as anticipated by the Raskatov concerto.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Piano Concerto "Night Butterflies"|
|The Rite of Spring|