Russia / USA, 1971, modern classical / chamber music

Nicolas SlonimskyStudies in Black and White; Suite for Cello and Piano; Impressions; Gravestones at Hancock: As I was looking at a photo of Kuryokhin and Zappa together with some random old man, I thought, “Who is this random old man?” In the photo, it looks like he’s getting along well with Kuryokhin and Zappa, and since those two musicians are geniuses, this old man must be someone special. So I dug and found out it’s Nicholas Slonimsky. Never heard of him so I decided to give this 1971 hidden gem a listen. It’s the composer Slonimsky himself on piano, Jerome Kessler on cello, and Nancy Bramlage adding her soprano vocals, but not until quite a way through. Everything here sounds like vignettes, sometimes experimental, more often whimsical. Music you could sleepwalk to (that’s not a criticism).

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