Chopin's two piano concertos have long been admired more as pianistic vehicles than as integrated works for piano and orchestra. But in his revelatory new recording, Krystian Zimerman suggests otherwise: The opening orchestral tuttis have so much more light, shade, orchestral color, and detail, you wonder if they've been rewritten. Every gesture, every instrumental solo is so specifically characterized that by the time the piano makes a dramatic entrance, the pieces have become operas without words.
Mose Alliso R.I.P. Influential blues and jazz pianist Mose Allison, whose songs were covered by an array of rock veterans, died Tuesday at the age of 89 of natural causes. Although Mose Allison is perhaps best known for his enjoyably idiosyncratic vocal style, he is first and foremost a marvelous piano player with a unique style pitched somewhere between a New Orleans bordello and the rhythmic and harmonic experimentation of Thelonious Monk or Sun Ra. This well-chosen 1966 compilation (released after Allison had split for Atlantic Records) pulls together ten of his best instrumentals from four of his six Prestige albums, and it makes a strong case for Allison as one of the most inventive piano players and composers of his generation.
"…Stefan Irmer has clearly studied and truly learned this music. So often on a disc of rarely performed music one gets the feeling that the pianist is sight-reading the notes in order to make a recording of previously unrecorded music. Not so here. Irmer performs with wonderful clarity, variety of tone, panache, and commitment. He truly sells the music.
Natural recorded sound, capturing very well the 1901 Steinway used for the recording, rounds out a delightful disc." ~Fanfare
Is there a better trio than the Florestan playing today? All three members are consummate artists, outstanding instrumentalists, and ensemble players to the manner born, but it’s the playing of pianist Susan Tomes that carries these performances to their greatest heights. Since the ensemble is perfectly judged by all concerned, it may seem unjust to single out the playing of one member for special comment, but such is the extreme sophistication, the extraordinary subtlety and the expressive range of this artist that I can see no alternative. The tonal control, the exquisite shaping of phrases, the rhythmical suppleness and structural backbone are of an order seldom encountered in the playing even of many famous soloists. But what renders her playing here still more remarkable is the exemplary precision with which it’s matched to the different sonorities and qualities of attack, so-called, of the string players. And what players they are. For all of the above this is not a pianist-dominated performance, except insofar as Schubert wrote the piece that way.
In 1832 Felix Mendelssohn (1809-47) wrote to his sister Fanny that is what about time he wrote some ‘good trios’. He had already started but left unfinished a trio for piano, violin and viola, and started the D minor trio shortly after, completing it in 1839. Mendelssohn’s friend the composer-pianist Ferdinand Hiller advised him after the completion to make several revisions to make the work sound as up to date as possible – Hiller, was a pupil of Hummel was a keen supporter of Berlioz and Liszt. The result is a work of perfect proportions, with a brilliant piano part, skilful counterpoint and a wonderful blend of classical poise and romantic passion. Schumann reviewing the Leipzig premiere on 1840 commented that the trio was a masterpiece that would ‘bring joy to our children and grandchildren’. The 2nd trio is dedicated to the great German violinist and composer Louis Spohr.
With Jess Roden on vocals and a couple of Toytown psych excursions, in ‘Mr. Job’ and ‘Toyland’, under the belt they released Outward Bown and a self-titled album before Roden quit. The vocals for the latter were re-recorded by the late Robert Palmer, he of ‘Addicted to Love’ success, who went on to pull exactly the same stroke as Roden for the next album, quitting the band just prior to its release. Gordon Neville was recruited to overdub Palmer’s vocals and, now simply calling themselves Alan Bown, 1970′s Listen was the result.