8669032-33 • 730099903271
• Best Classical Contemporary Composition • Best Engineered Classical Album
8559678 • 636943967829
• Best Classical Instrumental Solo
C e l e b r a t i n g Pa s t N a xo s Amer i c a n C l a s s i c s G r ammy Awa r d W i n n e r s :
8559362 636943936221 reviews
Laurence Vittes reviews Hanson from Seattle: ‘Hanson’s powerful music played by the Seattle Symphony was perfect for showing off the production team’s skills’ REVIEW ON PAGE XI
Piano Sonata No 3, Op 5. Two Rhapsodies, Op 79. Piano Pieces – Op 76; Op 116; Op 117; Op 118; Op 119 Jerome Rose pf Medici Classics F ◊ M50069; F Y M60069 (144’ • NTSC • 16:9 • 1080i • PCM stereo • 0)
sounds of america
Donald Rosenberg reviews premiere Machover recordings: ‘Machover would know best, but the performances here sound like a composer’s dream come true’ REVIEW ON PAGE XIII
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Seasoned DVD pianist Rose offers up Brahms solo works Over the past few years Jerome Rose has been setting down much of his core repertoire in front of an audience at New York’s Yamaha Artist Services for DVD, including works that he’s recently recorded on CD. The present DVD offers two and a half hours of solo Brahms, with no less than all of the late Piano Pieces and the youthful F minor Sonata. If anything, Rose plays the latter better in 2011 than he did in his 2007 audio-only recording. The little instances of over-pedalling and of telegraphing loud climaxes have been tempered, without any residual loss of drive or passion in the first-movement development, the Scherzo’s swaggering rhythms and the finale’s racing coda. The Intermezzo’s foreboding funeral-march rhythms are more flexible now, yet manage to sound more insistent. Rose’s long-lined, tellingly shaped Andante espressivo also gains in dramatic and dynamic scope, although this may be due to the DVD’s superior high-definition sound. The short pieces, too, often reveal Rose at his seasoned best.
Notice Op 76 No 1’s carefully contoured imitative writing; and if Nos 2 and 3 are a shade forthright and brusque, No 4’s phrases effortlessly ebb and flow over the bar-lines. His assiduous hand-crossings in the Op 79 No 2 Rhapsody’s main theme both sound and look effortless, while the Op 116 group stands out for Rose’s poetic simplicity in No 2 and his insightful timing and voicing of No 5’s strange harmonies. Interestingly, the Op 117 No 1 Intermezzo is relatively spacious and reserved in comparison with the businesslike urgency of the following B flat minor piece (perhaps it’s a hair fast for Brahms’s Andante non troppo, yet Rose makes it work). Op 119 features a broader, more bass-
Power and focus: Vicki Ray and the Eclipse Quartet play Feldman oriented reading of the C major Intermezzo than usual, an austere, granitic Rhapsody and an achingly drawn-out B minor Intermezzo. It all adds up to a meaty, enjoyable programme. Those who want the music minus the DVD’s modest yet effective camerawork and Rose’s bonus bookletnotes can obtain the complete audio soundtrack by itself via MP3 download. Jed Distler
Feldman Piano and String Quartet Vicki Ray pf Eclipse Quartet Bridge F BRIDGE9369 (79’ • DDD)
Feldman from specialist new music Californians This 1985 work, written for the Kronos Quartet and pianist Aki Takahashi, has something of a cult following. It inspired at least two people I know to buy their first CD player – one to eliminate the vinyl surface noise that marred the music’s hypnotic effect, the other to avoid having to get up halfway through the piece to change sides. I once found myself playing the old Kronos recording to lure myself to sleep,
only to emerge over an hour later more energised than before.
Like most listeners, I’ve never quite figured out how a piece so lacking in traditional structure – or even tempo and dynamic contrast – could wield such power. With only a few semitonal chord progressions and arpeggiated piano figures (never heard the same way twice), Feldman’s stylistic paradox (intimate in resources, majestic in scale) rarely materialised so efficiently.
Any music student can play the notes; Feldman requires musical shamans who can summon the spirits in between. Suffice it to say, pianist Vicki Ray and the Eclipse have that power – admittedly not as authoritatively as Takahashi and the Kronos, who had the benefit of working with Feldman in his later years, but certainly enough to render most of the music’s finer subtleties.
From the first moment to the last, Ray and the Eclipse stretch each sonority to breaking point, blocking anything that came before and thwarting any anticipation of what comes next. For nearly 80 minutes, they keep the listener focused entirely in the moment. Ken Smith Selected comparison: Takahashi, Kronos Qt (2/94) (NONE) 7559 79320-2
GRAMOPHONE MAY 2012 IX