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No Boundaries
The 5 Browns
No Boundaries
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Special Interest, Pop, Classical
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1

This piano-playing team of five siblings could be easily dismissed as just another crossover ploy, but that would be a mistake. My initial surprise turned into an hour of pleasant listening and, on rehearings, to admiratio...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: The 5 Browns
Title: No Boundaries
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 1
Label: RCA Red Seal
Original Release Date: 1/1/2006
Re-Release Date: 4/4/2006
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Special Interest, Pop, Classical
Styles: Dance Pop, Ballets & Dances, Ballets, Chamber Music, Forms & Genres, Concertos, Suites, Historical Periods, Classical (c.1770-1830), Modern, 20th, & 21st Century
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 828767871929

This piano-playing team of five siblings could be easily dismissed as just another crossover ploy, but that would be a mistake. My initial surprise turned into an hour of pleasant listening and, on rehearings, to admiration for this unique ensemble of talented young artists. For one thing, they've got the chops to bring off some fiendishly difficult works. Listen to the way sisters Desirae and Deondra tackle modernist Witold Lutoslawski's Variations on a Theme of Paganini, or brother Ryan's colorful romp through Ginastera's tricky dance rhythms. The fivesome also achieve carefully balances in their concerted works, with a scrupulously turned version of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and their arrangement of highlights from Stravinsky's Firebird. Those in doubt should hear tracks two through four, for irresistible versions of Lecouna's popular Malaguena, a fetching combination of Dvorak and Copland, and a piano rag by John Novacek. A delightful, spirited disc that never fails to please. --Dan Davis

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CD Reviews

Should be 5 stars each!
kellytwo | cleveland hts, ohio | 04/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Their self-titled first album, 'The 5 Browns' was an immediate hit, leading to TV appearances as well as concerts. Their second CD 'No Boundaries' is just out, and it's pure pleasure. Three cuts feature all five of them; but there are also several by one alone, or two or three of them, in various configurations, including the three sisters at one piano. The possibilities are endless!

Three tracks feature all 5 Browns, and the amount of sound that comes from five pianos is astonishing. At times they manage to sound very like a Jazz Band in that version of Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue'. The pairing of Copland's Shaker hymn 'Simple Gifts' from Appalachian Spring and Dvorak's 'Going Home' theme from his Ninth Symphony, is a masterful idea. 'The Firebird' by Stravinsky comes to vivid life under the 50 fingers of the siblings. It begins with the utmost delicacy, and evolves into effervescent musical color.

Two of the sisters perform first as a duet (four hands, one piano) in The 'Feria' section of Ravel's lyrical and evocative 'Rhapsodie espagnole.' Later, they each get their own instrument for a scintillating version of the two-piano duo by Witold Lutos?awski--his 'Variations on a Theme of Paganini'.

The most recent composition featured on the CD-'Gargoyles, Op. 29', by Lowell Liebermann (born 1941), or two sections of it show the formidable interpretive talent of another sister. III: Allegro monderato and IV: Presto feroce.

The brothers aren't left out, however. Greg shines in two solo tracks: 'Full Stride Ahead, Rag' by John Novacek, and the 'Hungarian Rhapsody No.6' of Franz Liszt. It's probably not coincidence that both of these works are strongly-if quirkily-rhythmical, rather forceful pianistic displays, at which he very clearly excels.

Youngest brother Ryan has three portions of a suite by Alberto Ginastera all to himself. 'Danzas argentinas, Op. 2' vividly portrays three segments of Argentinian society. There is no quibble about who's who in this version: the Old Cowherd is trying to convince himself and everyone else that he's still capable in this Latin perpetual motion. The delightful young girl is dreamy as she thinks of the tango, while the artful herdsman is full of swagger and busy-ness. It's all there in the music.

All three sisters somehow manage to fit themselves and their six hands at one piano for Sergei Rachmaninoff's 'Valse' and 'Romance'. This is charming, lilting piano music at its best. You may even think you're hearing a part of one of the piano concertos before the music reasserts itself and goes on its own charming way.

This CD has something for everyone-of any age. It's charming, vivacious, passionate, and gorgeously performed. Kudos to the un-named engineers as well. No wonder the 5 Browns are Steinway artists."
Unbelievable talent, unbelievalbe age
jjones | usa | 04/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This CD was a great purchase. The Browns have phenomenal technical virtuosity, which is not compromised by their choice of extremely difficult pieces. The numbers that have all of them playing together are specifically impressive, as I could not discern they were separate players. They play together so seamlessly, it is hard to believe they are all so young. However, I guess you would expect that from the first family ever to have all 5 children get into Julliard and receive scholarships no less. Their talent will amaze you."
Going for it
Robert W. Allen | Northfield Falls, Vermont United States | 04/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"With yet another stunning performance released on DVD, I find myself again reviewing one of their sterling effortless efforts. This time around I want to comment on their repertoire which is far from being a classical standard repertoire of any sort. When I was the age of the youngest brother, I was very interested in learning to play the piano compositions of Aaron Copland and Charles Ives. My college professors thought that I should not waste my spirit on these unimportant works and that I should spend more time working on pieces by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and Mozart. When I looked at what the Browns are working on and how they choose to perform the pieces they play so well, I began to realize that someone very near and dear had probably told them to "Go for it. Follow your bliss. Work on what really appeals to you and run with it." I am particularly interested in Melody's approach to the two Gargoyles compositions which she plays with youthful exuberance. I noticed that same youthful exuberance in her rendition of Debussy's L'Isle Joyeux on the first album, an exuberance which I have found lacking in performances of this work rendered by older, more conservative pianists. And all the Browns are the same with regard to this. Whether performing separately or together, their repertoire allows them to show their talent in the best possible light. And there will be time for the more conventional composers later. For now I say to them, "Go for it. Don't hold back." And then just sit back and enjoy the show.