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No Boundaries / The 5 Browns


Release Date: 04/04/2006 
Label:  Rca Victor Red Seal Catalog #: 78719   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  George GershwinErnesto LecuonaAaron CoplandAntonín Dvorák,   ... 
Performer:  Deondra BrownDesirae BrownMelody BrownRyan Brown,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The 5 Browns
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Highly publicized, mass-marketed classical music acts tend to get my goat and fuel my cynicism. For example, when I received The 5 Browns second CD release, with its wholesome, plastically hip booklet photos, dorky, air-headed annotations, and wishful-thinking title, I automatically tossed it in my de-collection bag on top of Vanessa Mae, Linda Brava, David Helfgott, the Three Tenors Sing Prince, Liberace plays late Beethoven, and the latest chapter in Lang Lang's downward artistic spiral.

A few days later, morbid curiosity kicked in. I retrieved the disc and put it on. And wouldn't you know it? These five brothers and sisters really can play! True, their five-piano version of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is slightly cut and
Read more has its fill of arch, mannered phrasings. But what impressive ensemble precision and instrumental balances! The same goes for the Browns' "readers digest" reduction of Stravinsky's 1911 Firebird, plus a medley of Aaron Copland's Simple Gifts and the "Going Home" theme from Dvorák's New World Symphony that just might edge John Ashcroft's "Let the Eagle Soar" from No. 1 on the flag-waving Hit Parade.

If the expertly rehearsed synchronicity Desirae and Deondra Brown achieve in Ravel's "Feria" from Rapsodie espagnol lacks a rhythmic center and palpable sensuality, the sisters' incisive though slightly overloud romp through Lutoslawski's Paganini Variations compensates. Melody Brown sparkles in a selection from Lowell Liebermann's ultra-clever yet derivative Gargoyles. By contrast, John Novacek's Full Stride Ahead (Rag) mixes 1920s novelty piano and stride licks into an original, unpredictable 90-second brew. Gregory Brown plays the heck out it, and I only wish that his Liszt Sixth Rhapsody had steadier rhythm, stronger bass lines, and less fussy phrasing--oh yes, and Argerich's octaves!

Gregory appears to be the flashy brother, while Ryan's more the poet and colorist, at least from how he shapes the more virtuosic of Ginastera's Danzas Argentinas Op. 2 so that they sing and dance rather than shock and awe. The brothers' diverse styles mesh well for a sensitive rendition of Lecouna's Malaguena, in Grace Helen Nash's venerable two-piano arrangement. In all, this is an enjoyable disc, with something for everyone. But if the Browns seriously want to cultivate a "No Boundaries" image, perhaps a programming and repertoire consultant can take them to the next level. In other words, turn the Osmonds into the Osbornes...

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin
Performer:  Deondra Brown (Piano), Desirae Brown (Piano), Melody Brown (Piano),
Ryan Brown (Piano), Gregory Brown (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The 5 Browns
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; USA 
Venue:  Right Track Studio 509, New York City 
Length: 9 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Jeffrey Shumway.
Right Track Studio 509, New York City (08/09/2005 - 08/12/2005) 
2.
Andalucia "Suite Española": 6th movement, Malagueña by Ernesto Lecuona
Performer:  Ryan Brown (Piano), Gregory Brown (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Cuba 
Venue:  Right Track Studio 509, New York City 
Length: 3 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Grace Helen Nash.
Right Track Studio 509, New York City (08/23/2004 - 08/27/2004) 
3.
Old American Songs, Set 1: Simple Gifts by Aaron Copland
Performer:  Deondra Brown (Piano), Desirae Brown (Piano), Melody Brown (Piano),
Ryan Brown (Piano), Gregory Brown (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The 5 Browns
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950; USA 
Venue:  Right Track Studio 509, New York City 
Length: 3 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is part of a medley which also includes "Symphony no 9 in E minor, Op. 95/B 178 "From the New World": 2nd movement, Largo."
Arranger: Jeffrey Shumway.Right Track Studio 509, New York City (08/09/2005 - 08/12/2005) 
4.
Symphony no 9 in E minor, Op. 95/B 178 "From the New World": 2nd movement, Largo by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Desirae Brown (Piano), Deondra Brown (Piano), Melody Brown (Piano),
Gregory Brown (Piano), Ryan Brown (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The 5 Browns
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; USA 
Venue:  Right Track Studio 509, New York City 
Length: 3 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is part of a medley which also includes "Old American Songs, Set 1: Simple Gifts."
Arranger: Jeffrey Shumway.
Right Track Studio 509, New York City (08/09/2005 - 08/12/2005) 
5.
Full Stride Ahead by John Novacek
Performer:  Gregory Brown (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Venue:  Right Track Studio 509, New York City 
Length: 1 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Notes: Right Track Studio 509, New York City (08/09/2005 - 08/12/2005) 
6.
Rapsodie espagnole: 4th movement, Feria by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Deondra Brown (Piano), Desirae Brown (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907-1908; France 
Venue:  Right Track Studio 509, New York City 
Length: 6 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Notes: Version: 1907
Right Track Studio 509, New York City (08/09/2005 - 08/12/2005) 
7.
Gargoyles, Op. 29: 3rd movement, Allegro moderato by Lowell Liebermann
Performer:  Melody Brown (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1989; USA 
Venue:  Right Track Studio 509, New York City 
Length: 2 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Notes: Right Track Studio 509, New York City (08/09/2005 - 08/12/2005) 
8.
Gargoyles, Op. 29: 4th movement, Presto feroce by Lowell Liebermann
Performer:  Melody Brown (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1989; USA 
Venue:  Right Track Studio 509, New York City 
Length: 2 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Notes: Right Track Studio 509, New York City (08/09/2005 - 08/12/2005) 
9.
Hungarian Rhapsodies (19) for Piano, S 244: no 6 in D flat major by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Gregory Brown (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1885; Weimar, Germany 
Venue:  Right Track Studio 509, New York City 
Length: 7 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Notes: Right Track Studio 509, New York City (08/09/2005 - 08/12/2005) 
10.
Variations on a theme of Paganini for 2 Pianos by Witold Lutoslawski
Performer:  Desirae Brown (Piano), Deondra Brown (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941; Poland 
Venue:  Right Track Studio 509, New York City 
Length: 5 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Notes: Right Track Studio 509, New York City (08/23/2004 - 08/27/2004) 
11.
Danzas argentinas (3), Op. 2 by Alberto Ginastera
Performer:  Ryan Brown (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; Argentina 
Venue:  Right Track Studio 509, New York City 
Length: 6 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Notes: Right Track Studio 509, New York City (08/09/2005 - 08/12/2005) 
12.
Pieces (2) for Piano 6 Hands by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Deondra Brown (Piano), Desirae Brown (Piano), Melody Brown (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Venue:  Right Track Studio 509, New York City 
Length: 4 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Notes: Right Track Studio 509, New York City (08/23/2004 - 08/27/2004)
Composition written: Russia (1890 - 1891). 
13.
Firebird: Rondo by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Desirae Brown (Piano), Ryan Brown (Piano), Melody Brown (Piano),
Deondra Brown (Piano), Gregory Brown (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The 5 Browns
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909-1910; Russia 
Venue:  Right Track Studio 509, New York City 
Length: 8 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is part of a medley which also includes "Firebird: Danse infernale" and "Firebird: Final Hymn."
Arranger: Jeffrey Shumway.Right Track Studio 509, New York City (08/09/2005 - 08/12/2005) 
14.
Firebird Suite: Danse infernale by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Desirae Brown (Piano), Deondra Brown (Piano), Ryan Brown (Piano),
Gregory Brown (Piano), Melody Brown (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The 5 Browns
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; USA 
Venue:  Right Track Studio 509, New York City 
Length: 8 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is part of a medley which also includes "Firebird: Rondo" and "Firebird: Final Hymn."
Arranger: Jeffrey Shumway.
Right Track Studio 509, New York City (08/09/2005 - 08/12/2005) 
15.
Firebird: Final Hymn by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Desirae Brown (Piano), Ryan Brown (Piano), Melody Brown (Piano),
Deondra Brown (Piano), Gregory Brown (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The 5 Browns
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909-1910; Russia 
Venue:  Right Track Studio 509, New York City 
Length: 8 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is part of a medley which also includes "Firebird: Rondo" and "Firebird: Danse infernale."
Arranger: Jeffrey Shumway.
Right Track Studio 509, New York City (08/09/2005 - 08/12/2005) 

Sound Samples

Rhapsody in Blue
Malaguena from Andalucia Suite
Simple Gifts/Going Home
Full Stride Ahead (Rag)
Feria from Rapsodie Espagnole
III. Allegro moderato
IV. Presto feroce
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6
Variations on a Theme of Paganini
I. Danza del viejo boyero (Dance of the Old Cowherd)
II. Danza de la mozo donosa (Dance of the Delightful Young Girl)
III. Danza del gaucho matrero (Dance of the Artful Herdsman)
Valse
Romance
The Firebird (from the 1911 Version)

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