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American Women Composers - Cotton, Et Al / Lifchitz

Release Date: 10/24/2006 
Label:  North/South Recordings   Catalog #: 1043   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  I'lana Sandra CottonMary J. Van AppledornHilary TannBinnette Lipper
Performer:  Max Lifchitz
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


COTTON Music for Midwinter. VAN APPLEDORN Fantasia. TANN Light from the Cliffs. LIPPER Piano Sonata No. 3. Bagatelles

This is a typical North/South production in that it features new, but Read more conservatively written music, and it is played by its director, New York-based pianist Max Lifchitz. The program begins on a somber note, a suite of five reflections on the winter blues by Oregon-based I’lana Sandra Cotton. Beyond the fact that I am one of those oddballs who really likes winter, I found this music dreary and monotonous. If you like basic, diatonic, minor-key minimalism, you might disagree with me. Mary Jeanne van Appledorn’s Fantasia is also dark in emotional tone, but much more intricately structured, featuring a personalized expressiveness that is given an Asian flavor via the occasional use of whole tone scales. Hilary Tann employs an impressionistic palette for her work, as the title implies. Lifchitz, who commissioned the music, captures the striking glint of the work quite nicely.

The most substantial work on the disc is the three-movement Sonata No. 3 by New York composer Binette Lipper. This music is defined by sinew and intelligence, making a strong and bracing impression without a trace of condescension. She wrote the work in 1995 as a memorial for her son. If there is anger or regret in these pages, it is subsumed by an intricate construction and compelling chromaticism. Her seven Bagatelles are more conventional harmonically (for the most part), and for me, less interesting, but they are terse and dramatically effective, the products of a first-class composer. Lifchitz plays the music well, but I can imagine the character of the work expressed with even more energy and dynamic clarity.

The raison d’etre for this disc, collecting music of women composers, is, thankfully, truly anachronistic. At this point, the division of male and female composition students in America reflects the population at large, although this was certainly not the case when van Appledorn (born 1927) and Lipper (born 1939) were starting out. Under the present conditions, this is really just an ad hoc selection of recent American piano music, and a fairly attractive one at that.

FANFARE: Peter Burwasser
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Works on This Recording

Music for Midwinter by I'lana Sandra Cotton
Performer:  Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Length: 17 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Fantasia by Mary J. Van Appledorn
Performer:  Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Length: 5 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Light from the Cliffs by Hilary Tann
Performer:  Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 8 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Sonata for Piano no 3 by Binnette Lipper
Performer:  Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 19 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Bagatelles (7) for Piano by Binnette Lipper
Performer:  Max Lifchitz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2002 
Length: 22 Minutes 34 Secs. 

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