To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness.
Raymond Clarke made this disc in a single day in his late 30's. It covers Copland's three major piano works, and throws in the early Passacaglia for good measure. 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.