MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Still Sound
Arvo PÄRT (b.1935)
Für Alina [4:22]
Variationen zur Gesundung von Arinuschka [8:42]
Erik SATIE (1866-1925)
Gymnopédie No 2 [3:31]
Gnossienne No 2 [3:09]
Gymnopédie No 3 [2:55]
Augusta GROSS (b.1944)
Venturing Forth Anew 1 [1:28]
Venturing Forth Anew 2 [1:12]
Dance of the Spirits [1:46]
Changes [2:58]
Reflections on Air [3:32]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Impromptu in A flat, D899 No 4 [9:43]
Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Nocturne in B flat minor, Op 9 No 1 [7:29]
William BOLCOM (b.1938)
New York Lights [5:33]
Bruce Levingston (piano)
rec. September 2005, Caspary Hall, Rockefeller University, New York, USA (all but Part, Schubert, “Changes”); October 2009, Delta Music Institute, Delta State University, Cleveland, Mississippi, USA
SONO LUMINUS DSL-92148 [56:13] 

Experience Classicsonline

This is Bruce Levingston’s third recital for Sono Luminus, and all have shown a consistent, unique artistic profile. He creates probing, deeply thoughtful interpretations of everything he encounters, and assembles recital programs which intelligently combine old favorites with new scores on which the ink is barely dry. I reviewed his second recital for MusicWeb and was generally welcoming, but this new disc, Still Sound, is better still: it brings together Pärt, Satie, Schubert, Chopin, Bolcom, and Augusta Gross in a program of great poetry and timelessness. Still Sound is indeed an apt title. Apt, too, is the New York Times quotation in Levingston’s biography: “hauntingly serene”.
We begin with two short works by Arvo Pärt, Für Alina and the Arinuschka variations, which date from the very beginning of his mature style. In their spiritual simplicity and beauty they set the tone for the full hour, and reveal Levingston’s hallmark traits: a clean, poetic sound, a varied palette of pianistic colors, and an unwillingness to rush - or even take the music at tempo in many cases. There follows a Satie Gymnopédie of such exquisite, fragile beauty that one can hardly wait to hear the Satie later in the program, at least until one falls in love with the aria-like simplicity of psychologist and composer Augusta Gross’s two miniatures, Venturing Forth Anew.
The Gross pieces are unlikely but apt preludes to a Schubert impromptu, D899 No 4, which in this context does seem unusually active and dense. The context and Levingston’s playing have the effect of revealing the simplicity of the Schubert, too, and the way in which the impromptu, like its disc-mates, creates great emotional effect with the tiniest, most elegant of ideas. Unfortunately, the Schubert brings to mind the Achilles heel of this series: some of the recordings were made in a different concert hall which had a more clangy, colder acoustic. The Pärt is affected but only mildly so; this Schubert is really distressing, especially when the engineering makes a vulgar hash of the highest notes. ‘Vulgar’ is the last word anyone should ever use to describe Bruce Levingston’s pianism, so this is a pity.
The acoustic issue is immediately solved with the next track, when we return to the warmer, more flattering environs of the main hall - and to the very first Chopin nocturne, here gorgeously stretched out to what must be a record 7:29. Levingston’s goal is to show again how this most romantic of music acts as a stylistic precursor to Pärt and Satie, and again he succeeds. Sure, it’s not period-authentic, or really at all typical (Arrau: 5:50) but goodness is it exquisite.
It’s a lead-in to New York Lights by William Bolcom, a paraphrase for piano of an aria from Bolcom’s opera A View from the Bridge. The booklets contain the touching backstory for the piece, with a quote from the original aria; the piano version was written at the suggestion of, and premiered by, none other than Levingston himself. Its quiet, humble beginning gives no suggestion of the fully voiced song which it will become. Afterwards, we are treated to another Satie bit (the second Gnossienne), played with a touch so soft it defies belief.
The album concludes with three more short works by Augusta Gross, of which Reflections on Air is my favorite - imagine a homage to Bach written by Debussy, though the piece is more creatively, originally shaped than any such comparison can suggest - and the third Gymnopédie of Satie, an encore which leaves me wishing for still more.
The title Still Sound works because this is indeed a collection of works which seem to slow or stop time; the hour passes as if it was both a mere instant and a lifetime. Part of that quality is due to the composers’ simplicity and often spirituality; part is due to the savvy programming; and part is due to Levingston’s extraordinary gifts as a colorist and as a performer who can hold attention rapt with the softest of playing. If I was less enthusiastic about his earlier recitals, I am a convert now. The harsher sound quality in four of these tracks is the only blemish on what may well be one of my recordings of the year. If you like this, seek out one of my previous ‘of the year’ winners, Edward Rosser’s Visions of Beyond - which also has a sublime, unusual Schubert reading. If Bruce Levingston is ever willing to do something as prosaic as a one-composer recital, someone needs to call him about a Satie album or two immediately.
Brian Reinhart 
























































































































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Error processing SSI file