Frederic Anthony Rzewski (1938–2021) was considered one of the most important American composer-pianists of his time. The works on this album are performed by Rzewski's friend and the dedicatee of his remarkable Winter Nights, pianist Bobby Mitchell, who also wrote the booklet notes for this release which represents his Naxos debut.
‘In the years that I knew Frederic personally, he composed an extraordinary amount of piano music, as well as various chamber works and two piano concertos. This album presents a cross-section of his later piano works which I have enjoyed playing most in public. The intention is to document some of his most interesting works that have not yet been recorded and commercially released.’
– Bobby Mitchell
Frederic Rzewski was one of the most important American composer-pianists of his time. The themes explored in his late piano works are typical of his entire body of work in their uncompromising and universal nature. The intensely contrapuntal Ruins and virtuoso Wake Up are the last pieces in his vast piano cycle Dreams, while the War Songs weave together six war and anti-war songs from the last seven centuries. Winter Nights was written for Bobby Mitchell. Rzewski said of the three movements that they were intended to help with insomnia in a similar way to Bach’s Goldberg Variations, though they are inevitably very different in the darkness of their moods.