Copland: Piano Sonata; Piano Fantasy

Copland: Piano Sonata; Piano Fantasy

by Benjamin Pasternack
     
 

This disc from Naxos features the three most significant works of Aaron Copland for piano. The way they are programmed on the disc is slightly unusual. They are in reverse chronological order of their composition dates, placing the serial "Piano Fantasy" first. Not only is this Copland's longest work for piano, but, as the liner notes point out, also the hardest for… See more details below

Overview

This disc from Naxos features the three most significant works of Aaron Copland for piano. The way they are programmed on the disc is slightly unusual. They are in reverse chronological order of their composition dates, placing the serial "Piano Fantasy" first. Not only is this Copland's longest work for piano, but, as the liner notes point out, also the hardest for the performer and listener to comprehend. Usually placing it further into a program of Copland's music gives the uninitiated some frame of reference. Put first, the performance really needs to be immediate, almost visceral, to the listener to keep his or her attention for the full half-hour of its length. Benjamin Pasternack plays it well and sensitively, but the sound of the recording is a little coldly resonant, and it isn't close and vivid enough to grab attention the way it should. The sound is much less of a problem for the "Piano Sonata" and the "Piano Variations," where there are elements more easily recognized as the work of Copland. Pasternack's playing is much more effective in these, regardless of sound quality. In the "Sonata," Pasternack has a lyrical, lovely way with the quiet moments of the first movement, while the second has a great sense of movement and dance. Those same qualities are found in the "Variations," and that, combined with the sound, makes these much less sharply angular than many performances. Even without a more vivid sound, these are engaging because Pasternack's contrasts between the kinetic, almost bouncy variations and the more "melodic" ones are not jarring, and the similarities between variations become easier to hear. Of course, it would have been nice if these also had a more alive sound. The disc as a whole may not be the best one out there with all of these works, but there are rewards in Pasternack's playing.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/17/2005
Label:
Naxos American
UPC:
0636943918425
catalogNumber:
8559184
Rank:
223361

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Piano Fantasy  - Aaron Copland  - Vance Kirkland  - Benjamin Pasternack
  2. Piano Sonata  - Aaron Copland  - Vance Kirkland  - Benjamin Pasternack
  3. Piano Variations  - Aaron Copland  - Vance Kirkland  - Benjamin Pasternack

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