Notes and Editorial Reviews
Beus plays Barber and Bauer. Hmmm. Never mind the alliteration; these are very good performances of a well-chosen program of much greater than ordinary interest. Marion Bauer (1882-1955) was the daughter of Jewish immigrants to Washington State. She became one of Nadia Boulanger's earliest American students (teaching her teacher English in the process), and composed a substantial body of mostly piano music and songs in a recognizably impressionist style. The works here are very well written and extremely enjoyable, especially "Tides" from Three Impressions, and the last three of the Six Preludes Op. 15 (the last casts some particularly affectionate glances at Debussy). Stephen Beus plays with genuine sensitivity to the music's
subtle colors and moods, making this half of the program quite a discovery.
The Barber items are far better known, and certainly are more frequently encountered both in recital and on disc. Beus does a fine job with the sonata, offering plenty of clarity in the concluding fugue and expressively shaping the first movement's scads of notes. He hasn't quite Horowitz's brilliance, or Earl Wild's sense of flow in the Adagio mesto, and his instrument sounds a mite "twangy", like one of Decca's 1970s piano recordings, but this is still very good. Excursions goes even better, particularly the second movement's slow blues (maybe it's a "b" thing), and the Nocturne Op. 33 has plenty of atmosphere. All in all, it's tough to fault either the programming or the performances on a disc that needs to be considered as a whole. Very enjoyable.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Be the first to review this title