John Knowles Paine was the first American-born composer to earn widespread recognition for his large scale symphonic works. But his smaller-scale compositions- in particular his beautifully crafted piano pieces- have been largely forgotten. With this album’s lovely and wondrously performed music, the acclaimed pianist Christopher Atzinger seeks to redress such unjustified neglect. Being the eldest of the fabled “Boston Six” band of composers, Paine was also the first to receive advanced training in Europe. Some have called him the finest American composer of his time. And, as the nation’s first American-born music professor, the curriculum he developed at Harvard was adopted by academic music departments across the country and hasRead more profoundly influenced advanced American musical training ever since.
This is by and large music written heart-on-sleeve, of a time where cares were about the honestly essential, music in which there is no agenda, no manifesto, no extra-musical baggage.
In this delightful collection pianist Christopher Atzinger plays with utmost elegance, brio when needed, gravitas when appropriate, and without a shred of condescension, there are romances, sketches, preludes, joyful ditties, even a fugue, and sad pièces d’occasion. Atzinger takes them on with bravura at his fingertips through all 65 minutes of this neatly engineered and packaged CD providing sheer listening joy.