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Stephen Beus Plays Griffes And Scriabin


Release Date: 11/13/2007 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 907476   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Charles Tomlinson GriffesAlexander Scriabin
Performer:  Stephen Beus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews


This release easily stands out among Harmonia Mundi's three recital discs devoted to American Pianists Association fellows. It showcases Stephen Beus, who, in his early 20s, plays with the mature mastery and perception of an artist twice his age.

Why does Charles Tomlinson Griffes' passionate, utterly original brand of Romanticism remain outside of the central piano repertoire's mainstream? Certainly the 1918 Piano Sonata's imaginative textures, sensuous melodies, and thoroughly idiomatic keyboard deployment warrant including this work alongside "Great American Piano Sonatas" by Ives, Barber, Carter, and Copland. And if you think some of the tumultuous finale's figurations
Read more are Prokofiev Seventh knock-offs, just remember that the Prokofiev appeared a quarter century later. This movement particularly reveals how the prodigious range of color, articulations, and moods Beus brings to the Sonata as a whole are borne out of the pianist's fastidious adherence to the composer's dynamic markings, stresses, and accents. Moreover, Beus avoids any semblance of banging in the music's loudest, thickest passages. Similar comments apply to the smaller pieces and to the beautifully detailed Scriabin etudes.

Beus unravels the elusive plot-line of Scriabin's Sixth Sonata with no less character and clarity than Hamelin, Ashkenazy, and Richter. Listen to the multi-hued shading of his repeated notes, trills, and rapid rolled chords: this is major-league pianism through and through. Indeed, Beus manages to transform the prolix and uninteresting B minor Fantasy into a mini-masterpiece. Don't miss this truly memorable CD from a pianist destined for great things. Also be sure to check out Beus' impetuous live performances of the Chopin B minor and Barber Sonatas from the 2005 Van Cliburn Competition Preliminary Round, available as digital downloads.

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

1. Sonata for Piano, A 85 by Charles Tomlinson Griffes
Performer:  Stephen Beus (Piano)
2. Fantasy Pieces (3) for Piano, Op. 6 by Charles Tomlinson Griffes
Performer:  Stephen Beus (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1915; USA 
3. Tone Pictures (3) for Piano, Op. 5: no 1, The Lake at Evening by Charles Tomlinson Griffes
Performer:  Stephen Beus (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911-1912; USA 
4. Tone Pictures (3) for Piano, Op. 5: no 3, The Night Winds by Charles Tomlinson Griffes
Performer:  Stephen Beus (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912; USA 
5. Roman Sketches (4), Op. 7: no 1, White Peacock by Charles Tomlinson Griffes
Performer:  Stephen Beus (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; USA 
6. Sonata for Piano no 6, Op. 62 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Stephen Beus (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; Russia 
7. Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 8: no 5 in E major by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Stephen Beus (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; Russia 
8. Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 8: no 9 in G sharp minor by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Stephen Beus (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1894; Russia 
9. Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 8: no 11 in B flat minor by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Stephen Beus (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1894; Russia 
10. Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 8: no 12 in D sharp minor by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Stephen Beus (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1894; Russia 
Notes: Alternate version. 
11. Fantasy for Piano in B minor, Op. 28 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Stephen Beus (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1900; Russia 

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