Andrew Eales of Pianodao nominates ‘Butterflying’ by Elena Kats-Chernin
Elena Kats-Chernin (born 1957) is an Australian composer, originally from Uzbekistan (at the time part of the Soviet Union). Kats-Chernin has won numerous prizes, and her music was featured in the opening ceremony’s of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Her output includes 6 operas, the popular ballet Wild Swans, numerous orchestral and instrumental works, film scores and a large amount of piano solo music.
Butterflying, from ABC Classics, brings together 30 of her piano compositions, performed by Tamara-Anne Cislowska, who is also joined by the composer for some duets.
Elena Kats-Chernin’s pieces vary considerably in style, but in all cases her music is contemporary in mood and accessible to all. Perhaps the best known piece included here is the Eliza Aria. Even more wonderful in my view is the title track, which makes a flowing prelude to the collection:
Or check out the characterful Russian Rag in A minor:
Compare and contrast these two pieces, and you will get an idea of the delightful range of music included. Rather than listen to the album to reflect a particular mood, this is a good collection to live with, and different tracks are likely to speak to you from one day to the next.
Butterflying is a 2CD set, and is also available as a digital download from iTunes, which is significantly more cost effective.
For those who wish to play these pieces for themselves, the sheet music book Piano Village, recently published by Boosey and Hawkes, includes most of the solo pieces from the recording, although in some cases they are in simpler versions.
I have reviewed the sheet music collection on the Pianodao website here.