In contrast to Joel Fan's previous mixed recital for the Reference label (World Keys), West of the Sun focuses on composers of the Americas, stopping short of Canada. Fan is just marvelous. His extroverted swing and idiomatic phrasing brings Ernesto Nazareth's Vem cá, Branquinha to vivid life, followed by equal virtuosic flair and color throughout Gottschalk's Suis Moi! Caprice. Similar comments describe the pianist's treatment of Villa-Lobos' Chôros No. 5, while the difficult double notes of Amy Beach's Fire-flies boast attractive light and shade.
Troubled Water is a bravura arrangement of the traditional spiritual Wade in the Water, and Fan makes its best possible case.Read more Fan also perfectly illuminates the dark underpinnings and rhythmic snap in Piazzolla's Flora's Game, while serving up what may be the best characterized recording available of Ginastera's First piano sonata. While certain pianists treat its ostinato finale in a machine-like fashion, Fan's subtle inflections deliver more musically satisfying goods. Bolcom's clever, pianistically resourceful eclecticism delights in his Nine New Bagatelles, and inspires Fan accordingly, especially in the quieter, more lyrical movements. Although more individually shaped Barber Sonata interpretations grace the catalog (Earl Wild, John Browning, and Marc-André Hamelin, for example), Fan's rock solid, impeccably controlled and impassioned reading is never less than world-class. A well-curated, excellently engineered program of this caliber warrants our highest recommendation.
Preludes for Piano (Piazzolla): No 2: Flora's Game
Troubled Water (Bonds)
Piano Sonata (Barber): IV. Allegro con spirito
Vem ca, Branquinha
Suis-moi! (Follow Me! Vamos a la azotea), Op. 45
3 Preludes: No. 2. Flora's game: Milonga
Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 22
Choros No. 5, "Alma brasileira"
4 Sketches, Op. 15: No. 4. Fireflies
Piano Sonata, Op. 26
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Unusually compelling albumOctober 12, 2013By Claire S. (New York, NY)See All My Reviews"I recently heard Joel Fan play live (and spectacularly) in Seattle and bought this album after his concert. This album is such a delight to listen to - and Fan's rendition of the Barber Sonata and the Ginastera Sonata, along with the evocative number from Piazzolla, are my favorites of all. HIghly recommended."Report Abuse