Search - Conlon Nancarrow, George Gershwin, Amy Beach :: American Piano Music

American Piano Music
Conlon Nancarrow, George Gershwin, Amy Beach
American Piano Music
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (34) - Disc #1


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The essence of America...
Joe Anthony (a.k.a. JAG 1) | Massachusetts, USA | 10/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When people think of great piano music, they most likely think of European composers such as Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Rachmaninoff, Liszt and Debussy. I don't know if American composers of piano music quite measure up to those giants, but to me, they sure are interesting. This CD provides a basic "who's who" of American piano music.

Edward MacDowall is quite precious, as he comes closest in this collection to sounding like his European ounterparts; his "New England Idyls" at times sound very bard-like as if closely related to something by Grieg or Schumann. George Gershwin, of course, is classic in that when you hear his music, it just evokes a mental picture of jazzy New York City life. Scott Joplin's piano miniatures are masterful, and even though they could technically be considered to be "ragtime", they are just as entertaining to me as many of our European piano classics. Gottschalk is another very creative American composer who draws upon Carribean themes and images. While Samuel Barber is very sentimental, John Cage goes completely off the deep end.

There is much to offer here, and even if these American composers seem a little less mighty than a man like Beethoven or Chopin; what they do give us is what is the essence of America: variety, creativity, originality, and the unique rhythms of the American melting pot; be it African, Native-American, jazz, ragtime, blues or boogie-woogie.

The CD contains informative liner notes. The only drawback is the mysterious ommission of Charles Ives who certainly wrote enough interesting piano music to be included.