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"Perpetuum Immobile" Leo Records 2003


The influences are myriad, and some of the names are inscribed artfully on the cover: Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Schnittke, Messiaen and Stockhausen, among others. In his liner notes, Stuart Broomer writes of the French impressionism at work as well as "pan-serialism" and "tonal liberation". Nabatov's solo piano work is entirely different than his ensemble recordings: Alone, he displays a strong romantic side that can be alternately dark and brooding or vigorously upbeat. His use of the pedals adds an atmospheric element that never devolves to mawkishness, but instead embraces life. The pianist shows a sense of humor, too: "One-Handed Bandit" is played by the right hand only; "U-Trillo" focuses on trills at midpoints. At heart it is the Russian elements that predominate: the inconsistencies, the grandeur, the uncertainties. Nabatov explicates a symphonic magnanimousness, and a simple elegance, too, incorporating modern compositional strategies from the worlds of classical music and avant-garde jazz. Of course, improvisation is central to the pianist's concept. The line between solo composition is unclear, but what is clear is that the pianist is completely comfortable with both. His structures border on brilliance as he composes on the fly – instant composition. Nabatov confidently forges a path that few have traversed, one that trancends genres and exploits a versatile technique and traditional training. It is impressive, more so in some ways than some of his previous recordings.

Francois Couture