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American Classics - Bolcom: Music For Two Pianos


Release Date: 11/15/2005 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559244   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  William Bolcom
Performer:  Marcel BergmannElizabeth Bergmann
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

William Bolcom's two-piano oeuvre fully reveals his uncanny facility for assimilating the nuts and bolts of any musical style or genre that crosses his composing table. The three Recuerdos respectively filter Nazareth, Gottschalk, and the lesser-known Ramón Delgado Palacios through a modernist vantagepoint. For example, the Palacios homage begins with gothic C major chords in the manner of Bach/Busoni that slip into Palacios' tuneful idiom, only for the two pianos to splinter off into more foreboding, dissonant territory. By contrast, Frescoes' bold, bleak canvas purports to musically mirror the apocalyptic war descriptions from the Book of Revelation, the Aeneid, and Paradise Lost, as Bolcom wrings every ounce of textural and Read more expressive variety from his unprecedented two pianos, harmonium, and harpsichord aggregation.


The 1993 Sonata for Two Pianos harks back to the tough, dissonant, and arguably academic style that typifies some of Bolcom's "pre-ragtime" pieces, including the shorter 1963 Interlude recorded here. Lastly, the two-piano duo rag arrangements markedly flesh out Bolcom's solo originals in terms of keyboard color and dynamic intensity. I'm not certain that Bolcom supervised or coached these recordings, but I can't imagine he'd be less than ecstatic over the Bergmann duo's caring, refined, and meticulously worked-out interpretations. While the excellent engineering conveys a realistic concert hall perspective, added amplitude and detail would have been welcome. For this reason I hope Nonesuch will reissue Bruce Mather and Pierrette LePage's fiery, hard-hitting premiere recording of Frescoes, recorded in the early 1970s.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Recuerdos by William Bolcom
Performer:  Marcel Bergmann (Piano), Elizabeth Bergmann (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991; USA 
Venue:  Rolston Recital Hall, Banff, Canada 
Length: 13 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Notes: Rolston Recital Hall, Banff, Canada (01/07/2005 - 01/10/2005) 
2.
Frescoes by William Bolcom
Performer:  Elizabeth Bergmann (Piano), Marcel Bergmann (Harmonium), Elizabeth Bergmann (Harpsichord),
Marcel Bergmann (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971; USA 
Venue:  Rolston Recital Hall, Banff, Canada 
Length: 28 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Notes: Rolston Recital Hall, Banff, Canada (01/07/2005 - 01/10/2005) 
3.
Sonata for Two Pianos in One Movement by William Bolcom
Performer:  Elizabeth Bergmann (Piano), Marcel Bergmann (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1993; Ann Arbor, Michigan, 
Venue:  Rolston Recital Hall, Banff, Canada 
Length: 15 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Notes: Rolston Recital Hall, Banff, Canada (01/07/2005 - 01/10/2005) 
4.
Interlude for Two Pianos by William Bolcom
Performer:  Elizabeth Bergmann (Piano), Marcel Bergmann (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; Palo Alto, Californi 
Venue:  Rolston Recital Hall, Banff, Canada 
Length: 4 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Notes: Rolston Recital Hall, Banff, Canada (01/07/2005 - 01/10/2005) 
5.
The Garden of Eden: The Serpent's Kiss by William Bolcom
Performer:  Marcel Bergmann (Piano), Elizabeth Bergmann (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1969; USA 
Venue:  Rolston Recital Hall, Banff, Canada 
Length: 5 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Notes: Version: 1994
Rolston Recital Hall, Banff, Canada (01/07/2005 - 01/10/2005) 
6.
The Garden of Eden: Through Eden's Gates by William Bolcom
Performer:  Marcel Bergmann (Piano), Elizabeth Bergmann (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1969; USA 
Venue:  Rolston Recital Hall, Banff, Canada 
Length: 5 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Notes: Version: 1994
Rolston Recital Hall, Banff, Canada (01/07/2005 - 01/10/2005) 

Sound Samples

Recuerdos: I. Choro - Homage to Nazareth
Recuerdos: II. Paseo - a la memoire de Louis-Moreau Gottschalk
Recuerdos: III. Valse Venezolano - a la memoire de Ramon Delgado Palacios
Frescoes (arr. for 2 pianos): I. War in Heaven
Frescoes (arr. for 2 pianos): II. The Caves of Orcus
Sonata for 2 Pianos: Sonata for Two Pianos in One Movement
Interlude
Garden of Eden: III. The Serpent's Kiss (Ragtime)(1994 version for 2 pianos)
Garden of Eden: IV. Through Eden's Gates (Cakewalk)(1994 version for 2 pianos)

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