Onyx Classics
While Gunther Schuller was pioneering a ‘third stream’ of classical-jazz fusion in 1960s New York, Nikolai Kapustin (1937-2020) was doing the same in Communist Moscow. A formidable pianist in his own right, Kapustin left some recordings but they have recently been superseded by the phenomenal technical finesse and feeling for swing demonstrated by Marc-Andre Hamelin, Steven Osborne (both on Hyperion) – and now Yeol Eum Son. The Prokofievian torrents for her, and she luxuriates in the blues harmony of Moon Rainbow. The Eight Concert Etudes bring some breathtaking dexterity and finger control: it takes something special to make any music sound so effortless and yet vertiginously difficult at the same time. Her cool, lazy way with the Variations (on the opening melody of Rite of Spring) demands an instant replay. Hats off.”

5 Star review of 'Kapustin' CD (Onyx Classics), by Pianist Magazine

The best performances of Nikolai Kapustin’s through-composed jazz-influenced works come from that rare breed of pianists who possess both a transcendental classical technique and a feel for jazz time keeping.Yeol Eum Son is one of those pianists.
She swings like mad in the Op. 40 Etudes’ first and final selections, nailing the syncopated accents and runs with a centered deftness that Oscar Peterson would have envied. By taking the opening section of the wonderful Variations Op. 41 a bit slower than in the recordings by Marc-André Hamelin and the composer himself, Son gives the music an attractive behind-the-beat lope that is similar to Erroll Garner’s signature style. At the same time, Son’s overall sensitivity and luscious tone ideally suit lyrical works such as Moon Rainbow, which is Kapustin’s final composition. Yeol Eum effortlessly sails through the Scherzo and the playful, over the top Perpetuum Mobile finale. Small wonder that Kapustin himself encouraged Son’s advocacy. A delectable and sonically superb addition to the Kapustin discography.
Jed Distler

Classics Today


Track Listing
Kapustin: Eight Concert Études Op. 40
1. 1. Prelude. Allegro assai
2. 2. Reverie. Moderato
3. 3. Toccatina. Allegro
4. 4. Remembrance. Larghetto
5. 5. Raillary. Vivace
6. 6. Pastorale. Allegro moderato
7. 7. Intermezzo. Allegretto
8. 8. Final. Prestissimo

9. Kapustin: Variations Op. 41
10. Kapustin: Moon Rainbow, Op. 161
11. Kapustin: Sonatina Op. 100

Kapustin: Sonata No. 2, Op. 54
12. I. Allegro molto
13. II. Scherzo. Allegro assai
14. III. Largo
15. IV. Perpetuum mobile. Allegro vivace