Ursula Oppens, much-honored champion of 20th- and 21st-century American piano music, celebrates her decades-long friendship and professional association with composer Laura Kaminsky on Fantasy: Oppens Plays Kaminsky, an album of world-premiere recordings on Cedille Records.
Available April 9, 2021, the album offers two recent works written for the pianist: Kaminsky’s Piano Quintet, performed with the Cassatt String Quartet, “a concise work of considerable substance and atmosphere” (New York Classical Review) and the turbulent Reckoning: Five Miniatures for America for piano four-hands, with pianist Jerome Lowenthal, created expressly for this recording (Cedille Records CDR 90000 202).
A large-scale Fantasy for solo piano, written for pianist Jenny Lin, explores sonorities from French Impressionism to jazz. Oppens gave the New York premiere in 2017.
Kaminsky’s Piano Concerto, a Koussevitzky Music Foundation commission, was inspired by visual images of sunlit rivers in New York City and St. Petersburg, Russia, where Oppens gave the world premiere in 2011 with the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic led by its artistic director Jeffery Meyer. On this world-premiere recording, Meyer, who is also director of orchestras at Arizona State University, conducts the ASU Symphony Orchestra.
The concerto, comprising a single extended movement, opens with “a piano cadenza that serves as the conceptual basis for the rest of the work,” Kaminsky writes in the album liner notes.