Ursula Oppens - People United Will Never Be Defeated! (The People United Will Never Be Defeated) (Music CD)

Release Date: 05 September 2011
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This is the original recording of Frederic Rzewski's masterwork, performed in 1977 by Ursula Oppens. While the composer's own rendition on the hat ART release from 1986 might be regarded as definitive, both this, and the New Albion release by Stephen Drury, are also quite powerful and beautiful. The main theme is a Chilean protest song, and it is run through 36 variations of bewildering and amazing variety, ranging from serialism to jazz to romanticism. to the further reaches of the avant-garde and back, all coalescing into a coherent (if complex) structure leading to a superbly emotional climax. The final recapitulation of the central theme is as deep and moving a moment as there is in late 20th century music. Oppens plays the work with fluency and grace, especially in the quieter interludes where the music takes on an almost ghostly quality. The Vanguard issue includes excellent liner notes by composer Christian Wolff who, in addition to providing good insight into the piece's architecture, elaborates on Rzewski's musical journey from Karlheinz Stockhausen interpreter to freely improvised jazz to his revelation that his socialist political stance would be more properly matched to some sort of populist movement. Hence his absorption into, and adoption of, work songs and other "music of the people." This is a landmark recording and, even if the listener owns other renditions of the composition, this one should definitely be heard. ~ Brian Olewnick
Release Date: 05 September 2011
  • 1. Thema: With determination
  • 2. Var. 1: Weaving: delicate but firm
  • 3. Var. 2: With firmness
  • 4. Var. 3: Slightly slower, with expressive nuances
  • 5. Var. 4: Marcato
  • 6. Var. 5: Dreamlike, frozen
  • 7. Var. 6: Same tempo as beginning
  • 8. Var. 7: Lightly, impatiently
  • 9. Var. 8: With agility; not too much pedal; crisp
  • 10. Var. 9: Evenly
  • 11. Var. 10: Comodo, recklessly
  • 12. Var. 11: Tempo 1, like fragments of an absent melody - in strict time
  • 13. Var. 12
  • 14. Var. 13
  • 15. Var. 14: A bit faster, optimistically
  • 16. Var. 15: Flexible, like an improvisation
  • 17. Var. 16: Same tempo as preceding, with fluctuations; much pedal / Expansive, with a victorious feeli
  • 18. Var. 17: L.H. strictly; R.H. freely, roughly in space
  • 19. Var. 18
  • 20. Var. 19: With energy
  • 21. Var. 20: Crisp, precise
  • 22. Var. 21: Relentless, uncompromising
  • 23. Var. 22
  • 24. Var. 23: As fast as possible, with some rubato
  • 25. Var. 24
  • 26. Var. 25
  • 27. Var. 26: In a militant manner
  • 28. Var. 27: Tenderly, and with a hopeful expression (cadenza)
  • 29. Var. 28
  • 30. Var. 29
  • 31. Var. 30
  • 32. Var. 31
  • 33. Var. 32
  • 34. Var. 33
  • 35. Var. 34
  • 36. Var. 35
  • 37. Var. 36: Thema

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Catalogue No: PCL0019