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Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tansman is worth discovering!, 21 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Tansman: Piano Concerto No. 2 / Boulanger / Gershwin (Audio CD)
David Greilsammer is an exceptional pianist with two highly-acclaimed (and exceptional) recordings of Mozart Piano Concertos behind him. He is also renowned for his inventive programming and recently gave a concert in Paris that juxtaposed the music of John Cage with that of Scarlatti.

The present recording features two world premiere recordings: Tansman's Piano Concerto no. 2 and Nadia Boulanger's Fantaisie. The Tansman is the most substantial work here. It is an extraordinarily joyful work in the Parisian neo-classical style, with influences from Tansman's idol, Stravinksy. There are also clear nods in the direction of Gershwin (the jazz influence is most apparent in the first movement) and Ravel.It is a virtuosic work, the pianist hardly stopping throughout 25 minutes of music. Passages with massive keyboard chords alternate with deeply lyrical passages. The Scherzo is a veritable perpetuum mobile. There is more than a touch of the Blues in the Lento, slow movement. The finale effectively builds up tension, through a number of contrasted episodes (some interesting orchestration in the quieter ones, including prominent tuba solo)to the final climax. This concerto grows on you with repeated listening.

The Nadia Boulanger I found a little disappointing. It sounds rather like a competition piece: well-written and assured but lacking anything substantial to say. It's quite pleasant to listen to, though! The disc concludes this journey of transatlantic connections with Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.

I admit to having been a little disappointed when I first bought the album but, now I've gotten to know the Tansman, I really enjoy it. The three works taken together make for some quite good programming too - they really complement each other.
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