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Frederic Rzewski’s epic The People United, his 36 variations on a Chilean revolutionary song, has been hailed as a masterpiece of modern American piano music. Ursula Oppens, its dedicatee, helped to propel it to fame, giving the premiere performance in 1975 and making the first recording in 1978. Since then numerous pianists have followed suit, including Rzewski himself and, just last year, Igor Levit. Oppens doesn’t say why she’s recorded it again – Cedille’s booklet merely reproduces Christian Wolff’s essay from her original release – but her new version is infused with 40 years’ experience, which bespeaks a richer understanding of the work’s array of emotional and technical challenges. Rzewski’s Four Hands, composed for Oppens and partner Lowenthal in 2012, is a rather dry cocktail of allusions and hockets.

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Piano International, 2016 - ©Rhinegold Publishing