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Schein Plays Carter, Copland & Patitucci


Release Date: 04/14/2009 
Label:  Msr   Catalog #: 1321   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Elliott CarterAaron CoplandJohn Patitucci
Performer:  Ann ScheinEarl Carlyss
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



CARTER Piano Sonata. COPLAND Piano Variations. Violin Sonata. 1 PATITUCCI Lakes Ann Schein (pn); Earl Carlyss (vn) 1 MSR 1321 (59:54)


Aaron Copland might not seem an obvious influence on the music of Elliott Carter, especially to those mainly familiar with Carter’s mature, complex work. But the Read more connection is very clear in this pairing of Copland’s 1930 Piano Variations and the 1946 Piano Sonata of Carter. Here is Copland, before his populist ballet scores, with music of taut economy and pungency. And Carter, still tonal, also very direct and with granitic construction. The two fellow students of Boulanger were to develop along very different paths, but at these youthful junctures in their careers, they sounded similar in purpose, making music that seemed to strive to speak in a distinctly American voice. Within the sophisticated structures of both works, one can detect distinctive native motifs: the four-square design of Shaker tunes, the gentle amble of a cowboy song, the sweetly syncopated lilt of the jazz club, or, as Ann Schein observes in her lovely notes (speaking of the Carter), “a vast American landscape of wide-open spaces.”


Schein certainly seems to make these connections herself in her excellent renditions of the music. I have heard the Carter Sonata played with greater dynamism and more of an emphasis on the abstract nature of some elements of the work, treating it, in others words, as a precursor to the dense, polytonal work that would pervade his mature output. Her approach is more akin to that of Charles Rosen, revealing a lyricism, dare one say Romanticism, that is certainly present in the score. It is a deeply satisfying performance; she plays the very challenging music with firm confidence, color, and obvious affection.


The Copland Piano Variations is also dispatched with great skill and conviction. This bold, almost shockingly austere score may seem, at first blush, to be a far cry from the populist composer to be. Deeper listening finds the Copland fingerprint firmly embedded here. Just as in, say, Billy the Kid , the material is direct and natural, with Copland’s melodic genius well in place. This is a great solo piano work from a great composer, and I am happy to have observed, as with the Carter Sonata, a growing popularity with both performers and audiences. Try it; you’ll like it.


The Copland Sonata for Violin and Piano, from 1943, finds the composer in a “sweeter” mood than is revealed in the Piano Variations. It is a charming, even pastoral composition, though lacking the strong profile and architecture of the well-loved masterpieces of the repertoire from Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms, or among Copland’s contemporaries like Prokofiev. Schein is joined here by her husband, Earl Carlyss, long-time member of the Juilliard String Quartet. His dark tone adds a melancholic flavor to the music.


This excellent program concludes with a short work by the remarkably versatile musician John Patitucci, one of the world’s leading jazz double bass and bass guitar players. His kinetic, compelling piece was written for this pianist, and fits well into the spirit of the balance of the program.


FANFARE: Peter Burwasser
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Piano by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Ann Schein (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945-1946; USA 
2.
Variations for Piano by Aaron Copland
Performer:  Ann Schein (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; USA 
3.
Sonata for Violin and Piano by Aaron Copland
Performer:  Earl Carlyss (Violin), Ann Schein (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942-1943; USA 
4.
Lakes by John Patitucci
Performer:  Ann Schein (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 

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