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Friday, August 7, 2015

Zvonimir Nagy, Vestiges, Works for Solo Piano

Pittsburgh-based, Croatian-born composer Zvonimir Nagy writes music based on a personal harmonic system that has to do with the cognitive affinities of tone. His CD of compositions for solo piano, Vestiges (MSR 1515), presents nine of his works written between 1998 and 2010.

They flow together in evocative and sometimes rather mysterious modern ways, showing a dramatically expressive cast that recalls Scriabin and Messiaen perhaps, a hint of Stockhausen perchance, Ives possibly, but only as stylistic touchpoints. Nagy has an originality and a pronounced presence that belies influences and goes a good way to giving the listener something with its own aesthetic unity.

The piano performance duties are divided into three: Geoffrey Burleson, Mabel Kwan and Nagy himself. Each shows a sensitivity to and affinity towards Nagy-ian sound worlds and so all comes off quite well throughout.

The use of the sustain pedal and a prominent presence of space makes for atmospheric, sometimes meditative sound universes. Melodically the music dwells on an abstract level that does not show conventional song-like symmetry so much as it unfolds with a sort of modern naturalism.

All nine works together give us a program that leaves us with a unified impression, even though there are alternating moments of quietude and those of rather turbulent activity.

I found the whole CD highly interesting, very colorful and a definite advance in the modern realm of solo piano works. Take the plunge and check this music out. With the requisite attention it will take you to interesting places both far away and deeply near. Definitely recommended!


  1. Thank you very much for reviewing this CD! I am the proud publisher of the title piece for piano! Nagy's music is definitely worth checking out! Paul Wehage, Musik Fabrik;htm

  2. Hello, Paul! I agree, Nagy is a special composer. Glad you publish him! Thank you for your comment.