Dukas’ complete piano works from new Norwegian pianist
Paul Dukas is one of those composers we find totally in the shadow of the one piece he wrote which became extremely famous. Everybody knows the Disney movie Fantasia and Dukas’ orchestral piece The Sorcerer’s Apprentice used in that film. But for most of us it stops there. Aspaas himself came across the Piano Sonata on the B-side of a cassette (!) on a trip to France in the early 90s, and he was immediately taken by the complexity and finesse of this grand piece. He immediately got hold of what was left of Dukas’ music, and there and then knew he wanted to do something with this material in the future.
Some of the reason this music is so unattended in the record catalogues as it is, may indeed lay in the sheer difficulty of the material. Non-idiomatic writing for the piano, to put it mildly, and the Wagner-inspired phrases are endless. Aspaas puts what few references there are completely behind him in every respect. This is virtuoso playing in the true meaning of the word, just what the doctor ordered for Dukas’ piano oeuvre. With flexibility, beautiful control over colour and dynamics, and the freshness of youth, Tor Espen from Norway lets the music of Paul from France come to life again. Finally.
Aspaas is a much sought-after soloist and chamber musician. He has collaborated with conductors such as Frans Brüggen, Vassilij Sinajskij, and performs regularly with Arve Tellefsen, Frans Helmerson, Virginia Tola and Håkan Hagegård, among many others. In the autumn of 2001 he was appointed associate professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music. Besides performing and teaching, Tor Espen Aspaas is Artistic Director for the chamber music festival ’Vinterfestspill i Bergstaden’ in Røros, Norway.