Music For Piano
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Audio CD, Audiobook, CD, 26 October 2004
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- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 14.07 x 0.99 x 12.45 cm; 99.22 Grams
- Manufacturer : DIVINE ART
- Original Release Date : 2004
- Label : DIVINE ART
- ASIN : B0000YWI10
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
This is a very important release for lovers of 20th century music, featuring the major solo piano works of one of America's most revered composers, and includes all of Copland's major piano works. Pianist Raymond Clarke is one of Britain's leading exponents of modern music.
performances of considerable sympathy and insight… with a flawless technique… The recordings are particularly fine and the performances here do it full justice, piano tone being impressive. Raymond Clarke contributes his own scholarly and informative booklet notes. An important CD enthusiastically recommended --Musical Opinion
Clarke...plays with intensity and conviction... the listener hangs on to almost every note - remarkable tension --FRMS Bulletin
We need a definitive recording of the Piano Fantasy and Clarke is exactly the kind of performer to deliver it... As usual all Clarke's interpretations are scrupulous ... the slow music in the last movement achieves a magical atmosphere ... In the Fantasy, as elsewhere, Clarke is in complete command of the passagework in this utterly uncompromising half-hour epic ... First-class playing --Gramopohone
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Clarke has a sound technique and a good understanding of Copland's unusual mix of the tonal and the serial. He describes the Variations (1930) in his own lengthy insert note as "vindictive and spiteful", which is not how I ever felt them (Copland marks #9 "warmly", #11 "molto espressivo", #12 is elfin and witty, #16 is jazzy, #18 is a delightful scherzando, etc). But he plays them all faithfully enough (until the 20th, where he smudges the last eighteen bars into a complete blur despite Copland's meticulous pedal instructions) and I found much to enjoy in the performance.
The Sonata (1939-41) is a statement in a larger tradition. Here both composer and pianist take the challenge directly - the writing is slightly formal for Copland, and Clarke stiffens nicely to reflect this.
The Fantasy (1955-7) fills the biggest canvas here. It is, as its title suggests, a work somewhat light as to structure but is filled with inimitable Copland invention. Clarke compares it to Messaien's La Rousserolle Effarvatte - I am not sure which composer would be the more offended but (other than structurally) it would never have occurred to me to mention the two in the same context.
I did enjoy the disc and I hope you may too. Clarke is let down by poor quality in the sound reproduction (the grandiose Coda of the Variations in particular is affected) which is why I limit the grading to three stars, but there is nevertheless much fine music here, often thoughtfully played.