Jonathan Powell (piano): Ives, Nancarrow and Crawford Seeger
Jonathan Powell (piano) presents three American greats, all musical outsiders and pioneers. Ives’ transcendental ‘Concord’ Sonata was suggested by his readings of Emerson, Hawthorne, Alcott and Thoreau, and has long been regarded as a classic of 20th-century piano literature. Ruth Seeger’s early piano preludes assimilate her interest in European composers such as Berg and Scriabin into her highly individual style, while her Study in Mixed Accents presages the rhythmic experiments of Conlon Nancarrow. Nancarrow wrote most of his music for the player piano, but during the early and late stages of his career he composed startling pieces for human performer. Powell plays all of these during this programme. ‘The stuff is fantastic... You've got to hear it. It'll kill you.’ —Frank Zappa on Nancarrow.