WUORINEN: Second Sonata (1976); BOULEZ: Troisième Son. Pour Piano (1958)-two different versions. Notes in English and French by pianist and musicologist Jeffrey Swann. (DDD) UPC # 017685-47632-7.
“I’ve always like Charles Wuorinen’s bracing, virtuosic instrumental music, and his Second Sonata certainly merits those adjectives. Wuorinen’s 32-minute sonata has a distinctly American sound-big-city American as opposed to Coplandesque Americana. The whiff of jazz in the fast sections is particularly appealing. It’s a long, masterly, formally original sonata-I’d almost call it an American equivalent of Liszt’s B-minor Sonata. Lotsa notes, the musical argument clear as a bell. Boulez’s Third Sonata is probably the most famous unfinished piece after Schubert and Mahler. … [a] scrupulous, sensitive interpretation. The Music & Arts recording, like Swann’s playing, is clarity itself.”
-David Raymond, American Record Guide
“Wuorinen’s dry, intricate piece deserves multiple hearings; Boulez’s open form sonata demands them. Swann’s disc is valuable for its impressive pianism and alternative viewpoints.”
-Art Lange, Fanfare
“Charles Wuorinen’s Sonata No. 2 for piano which received its premiere performance [by Jeffrey Swann]…at the Kennedy Center, should add significantly to the composer’s already substantial reputation. It is music clearly contemporary in form but not modern for the sake of modernity, often angular in its melodic lines but nonetheless emotionally expressive; ingenious in the way it uses silences as well as the more substantial dynamic resources of the piano.”
-J. McLellan, The Washington Post
Sound Clips (MP3):