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A Long Way From Normal / Awadagin Pratt


Release Date: 04/19/1994 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 55025   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz LisztCésar FranckJohannes BrahmsJohann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Awadagin Pratt
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The combination of the cutesy title (the pianist was raised in Normal, Illinois) and the album photos seems intent on promoting the pianist as a classical Bob Marley. Don't be fooled: this debut album by Peabody-trained Pratt, fresh from his 1992 Naumberg victory, doesn't belong in the crossover bins. It does, however, definitely belong on your shelf. For from the refreshingly thoughtful meditation on the usually battered Funérailles—a reading fixed on the music's more reflective moments—to the self-questioning phrasing of Bach's usually forthright chaconne theme, Pratt shows himself to be a rarity among the steely pianists of his generation: a truly tender virtuoso. Not that there's any evasion of technical challenges: few pianists Read more can toss off the chordal peaks of the Bach-Busoni with such unstrained confidence. But in the end, this disc is apt to mesmerize you less with its power or with the precision of its passagework than with the transparent, even transcendent, grace that emerges from Pratt's tactful control of timbre, phrasing, and articulation: the gorgeous Weave of the legato in the outer sections of the Brahms Second Ballade, the impressionistic harmonies of the tenth variation of the Bach. Even the gray corduroy bolts of sixteenth notes in the Franck emerge as prismatic silk.

Yet for all its gentle beauty, the playing never declines into the merely pretty: because of Pratt's superb control of inner voices, and even more because of his unfailing imagination (rarely is a gesture repeated without some subtle change in color of phrasing that casts it in a new light), the surface of the music is constantly shimmering, even when Pratt is refraining from making waves. The sound is a bit congested, but that's a minor flaw. In sum, it's been years since we've had a debut as impressive as this one. Enthusiastically recommended.

-- Peter J. Rabinowitz, FANFARE [9/1994]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Harmonies poétiques et réligieuses, S 173: no 7, Funérailles by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Awadagin Pratt (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1852; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/1993 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 10 Minutes 52 Secs. 
2.
Prelude, Chorale and Fugue for Piano, M 21 by César Franck
Performer:  Awadagin Pratt (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884; France 
Date of Recording: 09/1993 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 18 Minutes 42 Secs. 
3.
Ballades (4) for Piano, Op. 10: no 1 in D minor "Edward" by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Awadagin Pratt (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/1993 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 4 Minutes 14 Secs. 
4.
Ballades (4) for Piano, Op. 10: no 2 in D major by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Awadagin Pratt (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/1993 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 6 Minutes 21 Secs. 
5.
Ballades (4) for Piano, Op. 10: no 3, Intermezzo in B minor by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Awadagin Pratt (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/1993 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 3 Minutes 47 Secs. 
6.
Ballades (4) for Piano, Op. 10: no 4 in B major by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Awadagin Pratt (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/1993 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 7 Minutes 30 Secs. 
7.
Partita for Violin solo no 2 in D minor, BWV 1004: 5th movement, Chaconne by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Awadagin Pratt (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/1993 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 14 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Ferruccio Busoni 

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