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Amy Briggs: Piano Etudes of David Rakowski, Vol. 4

Amy Briggs returns to the fertile ground of David Rakowski's piano etudes, recording the fourth volume in this series.

The Latest Update

Disc in hand (second update)

Posted on November 21, 2016 by Bridge Records
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We’ve got the final product in hand! It will begin going out to digital and physical retailers within the next two weeks. We’ve also recorded a short interview with David Rakowski that will be posted here in early December.

Here’s Amy Briggs performing Etude #87, Berceuse on a toy piano from the recording:

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First update!

Posted on July 19, 2016 by Bridge Records
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We’ve engaged frequent Bridge collaborator Hayes Biggs to write the liner notes. 

Several representatives of Bridge were on hand for the American Academy of Arts and Letters ceremony on 5/18, where David Rakowski was inducted as a member of the Department of Music, along with Paul Lansky and Sebastian Currier. 

Attached Music: Etude #79, Narcissitude

Overview

David Rakowski’s one hundred piano études  are contemporary classics. Not only do they explore every facet of piano technique, they also include stride piano, rock and roll piano, tango, bebop, playing with the fists, and playing with the nose.   They have “redefined pianism for the twenty-first century” and are “the most significant contribution to the piano étude since Ligeti.” Pianists worldwide have championed them, and the World Piano Competition included ten of them in their required American repertory.

To date Bridge Records has released three volumes of them recorded by Amy Briggs, representing the first seventy.   She has now recorded the  fourth volume of the études, produced by three-time Classical Producer of the Year Grammy winner Judith Sherman, bringing the total recorded for Bridge to ninety-two. This new collection branches out into many new areas of pianism. There is a talking pianist étude, a tantrum of a piece written on a text by novelist Rick Moody; there is an étude on the polka and a prog rock étude; there are mirror études, both very fast and very slow; there is a single-note étude, an echo étude, an étude on the clave rhythm, and a fortissimo étude. Plus, in this collection, the études branch out into multiple keyboard études — pisno and celesta, and piano and toy piano. There is also a berceuse for toy piano alone, or for celesta alone.

Amy Briggs’s performances are fiery and passionate, capturing all the quirkiness of Rakowski’s ideas. She has a deft soft touch for the slow études, and an authentic jazzy feel for the jazzy ones. Her performance of Not, the talking pianist étude, is a real scream, sometimes literally. Her control of four layers of repeated notes, each with independent dynamic swells must be heard to be believed.

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David Rakowski’s 74th piano étude, a speaking pianist étude, played by Amy Briggs during a recording session at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, June 9, 2014.

Schnozzage
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Amy Briggs performs David Rakowski’s 22nd piano étude, “Schnozzage”, for melody in the nose. Slosberg Hall, Brandeis University, December, 2001

Absofunkinlutely
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A performance of David Rakowski’s 68th piano étude (a funk étude) during a recording session at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York City, on a gorgeous, gorgeous Steinway piano, June 4, 2008.

Start and End Dates

10/22/201510/10/2016

Location

New Rochelle, New York

2 updates
Last update on November 21, 2016

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New Rochelle, New York
Bridge Records, Inc. was founded in 1981 by David Starobin, President of Bridge from 1981-2007.  Starobin was soon joined in the company by his wife, Becky Starobin, now Bridge’s President. The Starobins, both musicians, have overseen the steady growth of a highly regarded catalog which is now distributed widely in the Americas, Europe, Asia and on the…

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