|New from||Used from|
Audio CD, CD, Import, 27 February 2001
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 12.7 x 14.61 x 1.27 cm; 98.94 Grams
- Manufacturer : Postcards
- Original Release Date : 2001
- Label : Postcards
- ASIN : B000059T25
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
Pianist Lara Downes takes us on a journey through the heart and soul of the USA with American Ballads, as she interprets 20th century works by Barber, Copland, Ives, Thompson and features the world premiere recording of jazz composer/saxophonist Benny Golson's On Gossamer Wings.This collection of solo pieces reflects the influence of popular music on our master composers and captures the essence of the American spirit, brilliantly performed by one of today's remarkable talents. Lara Downes has attracted attention as one of the most exciting and communicative pianists of today's younger generation. She has been cited by critics for her breathtaking virtuosity and penetrating, sensitive accounts of classical and romantic repertoire. She has been hailed as an artist worthy of placement in the highest rank of classical performers. Since making noteworthy debuts at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus, and Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, Ms. Downes performs regularly throughout Europe and the United States. Ms. Downes eclectic and engaging programs encompass both the standard repertoire and works by young composers such as Augusta Read Thomas and Stephen Paulus. Her recent projects include a Copland Centennial recital, a recently discovered piano concerto by Clara Schumann, and a four-part recital series entitled This American Century. She recently made the world premiere recording of On Gossamer Wings by legendary jazz composer Benny Golson for the Arkadia/Postcards label. The eldest of the three musical daughters of a civil-rights attorney mother and a Jamaican biochemist father, Ms. Downes began her piano studies at age five at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. At seven, she composed an opera based on the book Charlotte's Web, which was performed in San Francisco. Home-schooled through high school, Ms. Downes completed her advanced studies under Hans Graf at the Vienna Hochschule and with Rudolf Buchbinder at the Music Academy in Basel. She has received highest honors in the Claude Kahn, Palma d'Oro and Artists International competitions. Ms. Downes' busy solo and chamber career is strongly impacted by her commitment to expanding and developing new audiences for the arts. She dedicates time during her concert tours to elementary school workshops, and has developed a wide network of community outreach through the University of California at Davis. She is the co-founder and artistic director of Arts Exchange, a project dedicated to building creative partnerships between the visual and performing arts. In her own words: "I'd like to re-define the concert experience, to give it new relevance in our 21st-century world". Ms. Downes speaks fluent English, Italian, German and French. She lives in Northern California.
Review this product
Top reviews from other countries
The heart of the program is in sections from two masterpieces of American piano literature (& musical quotation) appropriately placed next to each other: Frederic Rzewski's brilliant rethinking of "Down By the Riverside" from North American Ballads, & Charles Ives' affectionate & humorous portrait of "The Alcotts" from Piano Sonata No. 2, "Concord." One hears a kinship across the many decades between these two composers.
As an encore, Lara Downes gives us "American Nocturne" by Dana Suess, a neglected composer who roamed the same musical landscape between pop song & art music as George Gershwin. (Her music is available on Keyboard Wizards of the Gershwin Era, Vol. 2 )
Throughout, Downes plays with skill, idiomatic understanding, & commitment. A winner.