The grandissimo Keltic Sonata's flourishes strike up and down the
scale. Heroically impressive in Brahmsian dress its grandeur is diffused
by a spoonful or two of sentimentality in the middle movement but the finale
is resplendently resounding. The whole is well worth hearing but neither
especially Celtic nor distinctively American in any way I can detect.
The Forgotten Fairy Tales sound from the title to be a Medtnerian
sequence. Far from it. these are accomplished, charming, non-threatening
and ultimately tame children's stories. Yes, all charm, but done in aristocratic
style. A Victorian Disney approach to fairytales that are often darker
and more dangerous than they are given credit for.
The six pieces in the Heine set are poetically Brahmsian often radiating
an antique joy. The Postwagon borrows some Rossinian mountain pastoralism
from Guglielmo Tell. The Shepherd Boy reminded me fleetingly
of Saint-Saens' (2nd piano concerto).
The Twelve Virtuoso Studies are remarkable for their lively spirit.
There is a demented butterfly of a Moto Perpetuo, a Mendelssohnian
Wilde Jagd, the starry flight of Elfentanz and the cool Brahmsian
fever of Märzwind. The Impromptu is much indebted to Chopin
and the final Polonaise melds elements of Chopin with some watery
pre-echoes of Medtner in the grand manner.
The cover art uses a landscape painting by Washington Allston as does volume
4. The notes are by the Ledins who are the American Classics Series producers
and consultants to Naxos.
Recommended in the same spirit as the other volumes.