Notes and Editorial Reviews
On this disc, pianist Andrew Rangell chooses five sets of his favorite variations- works both little and well-known. Among the rarities are Bizet's little known set, a work described by Rangell as "a fascinating wedding of conceptual rigor and brilliant stagecraft." Also heard is Carl Nielsen's infrequently recorded Chaconne. Andrew Rangell was born in Chicago and raised in Colorado. He is a graduate of Juilliard, earning a doctorate in piano under Beveridge Webster. The New York Observer called him "an individualist...like the late Glenn Gould, he seemed to be propelled by an irresistible force." Bridge Records has released a dozen discs featuring Rangell, performing a wide range of keyboard music from the 16th century
to the present day.
R E V I E W S:
Idiosyncratic American pianist Andrew Rangell has been at it for decades, and he continues to draw new fans because, although he antagonizes listeners with willfully unorthodox interpretations, he manages to string them together into sequences that sometimes yield genuinely transcendent moments. Here's a typical Rangell release that's greater than the sum of its parts. There are many better choices for the great variation set of Haydn's old age, the Variations in F minor, Hob. 17/6, than this odd reading by Rangell with its overemphasis on the ornamental arpeggio figures throughout. Yet in the sequence of events on the album it makes a certain amount of sense: the Haydn variations offer a quirky introduction that lead into a group of five keyboard variation pieces that proceed from concupiscently virtuosic (the Variations chromatiques de concert of Bizet, composed in 1868 and ever since then sorely underrated) to rigorously economical (the even less well-known Chaconne, Op. 32, of Carl Nielsen), to broadly serene (the Brahms Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 21/1, and Schubert Impromptu in B flat major, Op. 142/3, here presented as Variations on a theme from "Rosamunde." The program has an arc that develops from playfulness to muscle to, in places, ecstasy. Does it all work? That depends on your perspective, but Rangell remains an original, and this is a good place to get an idea of his very recital-oriented approach to recordings. Engineering is strong, and the rather personal notes, by Rangell himself, are in English only.
-- James Manheim, All Music Guide
Works on This Recording
Variations in F minor by Franz Joseph Haydn
Andrew Rangell (Piano)
Written: 1793; Austria
Variations Chromatiques (de concert)
Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 21, No. 1
Rosamunde Variations - Impromptu in B flat, D. 935, No. 3
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