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RZEWSKI, F.: People United will never be Defeated (The) (van Raat)

Composer(s):Rzewski, Frederic
Artist(s) van Raat, Ralph, piano
Period(s) Contemporary
Genre Classical Music
Category Instrumental
Catalogue 8.559360
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Download and Stream

The People United Will Never Be Defeated! by the left-wing composer and pianist Frederic Rzewski is a landmark in American piano literature. The work comprises 36 variations on a protest song of the same name by the Chilean composer Sergio Ortega. Almost every bar is laden with pianistic virtuosity, yet the listener is carried through some very complex music in a wholly natural way. The variations themselves all symbolize the different phases and aspects of a struggle: from angry, highly-energized modernism, via melancholic references to blues, calculated dense polyphony and nostalgic folk-music to written-out free jazz passages. Rzewski’s popular Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues, written in 1979 as part of the set North American Ballads, forms a fitting more....


Review By J Scott Morrison (Middlebury VT, USA),,April 2008

A Late Twentieth-Century Masterpiece


Review By Mark Stryker,,April 2008

A modern masterpiece, Frederic Rzewski’s monumental “The People United will Never Be Defeated!” (1975) is given an impressive new recording by Dutch pianist Ralph van Raat (Naxos). The piece, an hour-long theme-and-variations based on a Chilean revolutionary song, is so rich with polystylistic invention that it’s hard to wrap your arms around it. Romantic grandeur, folk song, jazz, minimalism, modal music, free improvisation, high modernist complexity and more all peacefully coexist.


Review By David Denton, Naxos,April 2008

In modern terms it is a very worthy piece of craftsmanship offering the soloist a massive showcase for their virtuosity



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