Composers: Gershwin, Goodyear
Compositions: Rhapsody in Blue, Callaloo
Performers: Stewart Goodyear p, Chineke! Orchestra/Wayne Marshall
Catalogue Number: Orchid Classics ORC100100
Canadian pianist composer Stewart Goodyear has been making discs for 25 years, but has only recently come to the notice of the Australian record-buying public. First there was a recreation of his compatriot Glenn Gould’s debut recital, followed by his delightful piano arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet and a cracking set of the complete Beethoven sonatas.
His latest project features two original works alongside a version of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue you’d be forgiven for thinking was recorded in Harlem’s Cotton Club rather than a London church, thanks to the excellent Chineke! Orchestra. The main work is Callaloo, Goodyear’s orchestral tribute to the island of Trinidad, where half his family grew up. He describes this five part Caribbean suite as “my soulfood” which, like a callaloo, is a potpourri of different cultural influences in a spicy mix. The dominant flavour is the Calypso – the blend of jazz, African and French ingredients which is the heart of Trinidad. There’s a movement dedicated to Jamaican folk song and a ballad before all hell breaks loose in the Carnival finale where you can hear the sounds of steel bands and dancing in the street.
Goodyear’s teenage piano sonata – which he premiered at his graduation recital at the Curtis Institute – combines piano pyrotechnics with “teenage hubris” and the techno music he was listening to in 1996. Well worth a spin.