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Visions - Busoni, Bloch, Finnissy, Flynn / Carlo Grante

Busoni / Bloch / Finnissy / Flynn / Grante
Release Date: 01/11/2011 
Label:  Music & Arts   Catalog #: 1247   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ferruccio BusoniGeorge FlynnMichael FinnissyErnest Bloch
Performer:  Carlo Grante
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

VISIONS Carlo Grante (pn) MUSIC & ARTS 1247 (2 CDs: 120:36)

BUSONI 3 Albumblätter. Indianisches Tagebuch: Book 1. FLYNN Glimpses of Our Inner Lives. FINNISSY Bachsche Nachdichtungen. BLOCH Visions and Prophecies

From what Read more I can gather from reading the rather dense booklet notes, the premise of this recital is that much of this music is best understood through subconscious remembrance and imagining than through the initial experience of hearing. Time seems to be a crucial factor here in that this music is less goal-oriented than it is reflective—similar, perhaps, to the difference between listening to Beethoven and listening to Wagner. There seem to be mystical implications here. While all of the pieces on the current recital make for rather intense listening, there is something about this kind of thinking—of letting whatever it is that remains in one’s ears long after hearing make its impression on one naturally—that does seem to make this music more understandable, more interesting, especially on repeated listening.

Carlo Grante is surely one of just a handful of pianists before the public today who not only has the imagination to put together a recital such as this but also perform it. He possesses not only the requisite technical virtuosity—and the demands made by some of this music are daunting in terms of just stamina alone as the almost 58 minutes of George Flynn’s Glimpses of Our Inner Lives surely proves—but more importantly the temperament to interpret this music convincingly. His ability to hold one’s interest as he does is a necessity in this type of music. Even with Grante’s persuasive readings, however, listening to this entire release as one would a recital is a bit of a daunting task. Two hours of this cerebral-spiritual music is quite a lot; taken separately, there is some very fine music to be had here. Michael Finnissy’s composition, Bachsche Nachdichtungen , is an especially interesting piece, a sort of modern-day take on Busoni’s Fantasia Contrappuntistica , with its highly contrapuntal strands and dense, wandering chromaticism. Busoni, represented by the late Albumblätter and the Indianisches Tagebuch , based respectively on themes from Doktor Faust in the former, Native American songs in the latter, was surely one of the inspirations for putting together this recital. I find his music, if not his finest works for the piano here, at least always engaging. Bloch’s Visions and Prophecies provide perhaps the easiest listening on the disc, sounding like a cross between Rachmaninoff, Messiaen, and Busoni though sparser in note content than these composers’ writing (also unlike Bloch’s impressive Piano Sonata, written around the same time). George Flynn’s massive opus, Glimpses of Our Time , is the most difficult work to get through. Its constant wandering, combined with its length, makes for a bit of a static impression. Taken by itself, or programmed differently, it can obviously make a better impact than it does here at the heart of this recital.

Hopefully the aforementioned description has not scared one away, because there is some very fine music on this release. Though a recital of this severity will not be to everyone’s liking, there is some fascinating music here that if taken little by little will reward one in great quantity. Grante is a good advocate for this music, and being that he is in some cases its only one, this release is doubly important. Either way, grab it and listen!

FANFARE: Scott Noriega
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Works on This Recording

Albumblätter (3) for Piano by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Carlo Grante (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917-1923; Berlin, Germany 
Glimpses of Our Inner Lives by George Flynn
Performer:  Carlo Grante (Piano)
Written: 2000-2001 
Bachsche Nachdichtungen by Michael Finnissy
Performer:  Carlo Grante (Piano)
Written: 2000 
Indianisches Tagebuch: Book 1, K 267 by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Carlo Grante (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916; Berlin, Germany 
Visions and Prophecies by Ernest Bloch
Performer:  Carlo Grante (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Switzerland 

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