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Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn     

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Philip Amalong, piano
Johann Sebastian BACH
(1685 - 1750)

Das Wohltemperierte Klavier book I: Prelude and Fugue in Bb [6.15]
Johannes BRAHMS (1832 -1897)

Ballades, Op. 10 (1854): #1 in d, "Edward" [4.06]; #2 in D [6.22]
Alberto Ginastera (1916 - 1983)

Piano Sonata #1, Op. 22 (1952) [15.04]
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891 - 1953)

Ten piano pieces from Romeo and Juliet, Op. 75 (1935): Romeo bids Juliet farewell [7.48]
Enrique GRANADOS (1867 - 1916)

Quejas ó La Maja y el Ruiseñor [6.48]
Fr. Angelo A. DELLA PICCA (b.1923)

Rondo Capriccioso (on a theme by Mascagni) (?) [7.39]
Philip Amalong, piano
Two pages of notes in English. Photograph of the performer.
"Enhanced CD" (See Review) material by TVAcom, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Recording dates and locations not given.
EROICA JDT 3119 [54.02]

This is a recital of very sombre and reflective music, joined with the mystical exoticism of the Ginastera. Generally people who don’t care for classical music will call up "depressing" pieces like this to make their case. In other words, pianist Amalong is refusing to cater to any "crossover" sentiments. This is serious classical music for people who love classical music and no apologies expected. Pianist Amalong is a virtuoso of the first order and plays and achieves a distinctively intense, reflective mood which perhaps reaches its most intense in the adagio molto appassionato of the Ginastera Sonata. The following Ruvido ed ostinato is the most boisterous piece on the disk, and even more derivative of the Prokofiev Seventh Sonata than the first movement allegro marcato was.

"Enhanced CD" format loads FlashMedia 6 (25 MB+ free hard disk space required) on your computer and offers access to a panel of information for each selection, more extensive than that printed on the paper folder in the jewel case. If you have no computer, the CD will play in the normal manner in your CD player. If you have autorun disabled on your computer (as I do), you need to run "Storia.exe" from Explorer or the Windows Run panel; and from within this program you may select and run the music tracks. I recommend that you either listen to the disk all the way through in the conventional manner, or run Storia.exe and pick one piece at a time to listen to while reading the notes on the computer screen. If you navigate within the program while music is playing the music will stop. There is no mention in the notes of Apple computer compatibility and I have no way of testing that.

The music on this disk is generally quite well known with the exception of the last piece, written by a Catholic priest friend of the performer. The work is generally effective, but in this company sounds somewhat facile and is an unfortunate choice for the last work on the disk. This one work by a priest points up the religious variety among the composers on the disk with music by the Protestant Bach, militant Atheist Prokofiev and the gently Agnostic Brahms alongside the presumably Catholic Ginastera and Granados. Comparing these performances with others, one notes that the others generally play more incisively and with more drama, whereas Armalong is unrelievedly introverted. Even during vigorous allegro passages, there is a sense that he is pulling his punches—or, to put it another way, he brings no sense of flamboyance, brilliance, or showmanship to his interpretation.

Paul Shoemaker


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