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American Classics - Mason: Piano Music / Boulton


Release Date: 11/19/2002 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559142   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  William Mason
Performer:  Kenneth Boulton
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The Boston-born composer William Mason (1829-1908) may be less known today than his musical kin (his brother Henry co-founded Mason and Hamlin Pianos, and his nephew was the composer/writer/educator Daniel Gregory). However, in the late 19th century William Mason held forth as an influential piano pedagogue through numerous teaching posts and via many published method and exercise books. His vivid and evocative autobiography Memories of a Musical Life remains one of the best books of its kind, and deserves reissue.


Although Mason's creative voice is not particularly original in relation to the Romantic piano composers from whom he pilfers (Liszt, Chopin, Brahms, and in his all-over-the-keyboard arpeggios, Thalberg),
Read more his keyboard writing is idiomatic, superbly crafted, and often interesting from a harmonic angle. Capriccio Fantasticico, for instance, abounds in striking modulations and introspective, Brahmsian descending thirds that contrast to the salon-like glitter sprinkled throughout works such as the Valse-Caprice, Valse de Bravoure, and the Deux Humoresques de Bal. Caprice Grotesque is a witty send-up of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star that points the way toward Dohnanyi's better-known variations on the same theme for piano and orchestra. On the other hand, the nine-minute Ballade and Barcarolle, with its watered-down quotes from Chopin's First Ballade, overstays its welcome by eight minutes and 30 seconds.


Kenneth Boulton's solid pianism and sensitive musicianship, along with his superb booklet notes, serve Mason's piano works very well, and JoAnne Barry joins in on the charming duet Badinage. To be sure, there are other ways to play this music. Ivan Davis' flamboyantly dispatched "three-handed" arpeggios in Silver Spring scintillate more than Boulton's gentler, rippling rendition. And Noel Lester's poetic traversal of Lullabye Op. 10 (Centaur) augers well for a full Mason recital from this excellent pianist. Still, this is a first-rate recital all the way, and a bargain to match.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Silver spring, Op. 6 by William Mason
Performer:  Kenneth Boulton (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 2001-02 
Venue:  The Sonic Temple, Roslindale, MA 
Length: 5 Minutes 45 Secs. 
2.
Capriccio fantastico, Op. 50 by William Mason
Performer:  Kenneth Boulton (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1897; USA 
Date of Recording: 2001-02 
Venue:  The Sonic Temple, Roslindale, MA 
Length: 5 Minutes 15 Secs. 
3.
Rêverie poétique, Op. 24 by William Mason
Performer:  Kenneth Boulton (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1885; USA 
Date of Recording: 2001-02 
Venue:  The Sonic Temple, Roslindale, MA 
Length: 6 Minutes 26 Secs. 
4.
Improvisation for Piano, Op. 51 by William Mason
Performer:  Kenneth Boulton (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1900; USA 
Date of Recording: 2001-02 
Venue:  The Sonic Temple, Roslindale, MA 
Length: 4 Minutes 19 Secs. 
5.
Valse-caprice for Piano, Op. 17 by William Mason
Performer:  Kenneth Boulton (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 2001-02 
Venue:  The Sonic Temple, Roslindale, MA 
Length: 6 Minutes 2 Secs. 
6.
Humoresques de bal, Op. 23 by William Mason
Performer:  Kenneth Boulton (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 2001-02 
Venue:  The Sonic Temple, Roslindale, MA 
Length: 6 Minutes 32 Secs. 
7.
La Sabotière, Op. 33 by William Mason
Performer:  Kenneth Boulton (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 2001-02 
Venue:  The Sonic Temple, Roslindale, MA 
Length: 5 Minutes 12 Secs. 
8.
Lullaby, Op. 10 by William Mason
Performer:  Kenneth Boulton (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 2001-02 
Venue:  The Sonic Temple, Roslindale, MA 
Length: 3 Minutes 4 Secs. 
9.
Badinage for Piano, Op. 27 by William Mason
Performer:  Kenneth Boulton (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 2001-02 
Venue:  The Sonic Temple, Roslindale, MA 
Length: 3 Minutes 21 Secs. 
10.
Caprice grotesque, Op. 22 by William Mason
Performer:  Kenneth Boulton (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 2001-02 
Venue:  The Sonic Temple, Roslindale, MA 
Length: 3 Minutes 42 Secs. 
11.
Ballade et barcarolle for Piano by William Mason
Performer:  Kenneth Boulton (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 2001-02 
Venue:  The Sonic Temple, Roslindale, MA 
Length: 8 Minutes 58 Secs. 
12.
Préludes (3) for Piano by William Mason
Performer:  Kenneth Boulton (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 2001-02 
Venue:  The Sonic Temple, Roslindale, MA 
Length: 3 Minutes 17 Secs. 
13.
Amourette, Op. 48 by William Mason
Performer:  Kenneth Boulton (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 2001-02 
Venue:  The Sonic Temple, Roslindale, MA 
Length: 6 Minutes 36 Secs. 
14.
Valse de bravoure, Op. 5 by William Mason
Performer:  Kenneth Boulton (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 2001-02 
Venue:  The Sonic Temple, Roslindale, MA 
Length: 9 Minutes 7 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Capriccio fantastico
Valse-caprice

Sound Samples

Silver Spring, Op. 6
Capriccio Fantastico, Op. 50
Reverie Poetique, Op. 24
Improvisation, Op. 51
Valse-Caprice, Op. 17
2 Humoresques de Bal, Op. 23: Polka-caprice
2 Humoresques de Bal, Op. 23: Mazurka-caprice
La Sabotiere, Op. 33: La Sabotiere: Danse aux Sabots, Op. 33
Lullaby, Op. 10
Badinage, Op. 27
Caprice Grotesque, Op. 22
Ballade et Barcarolle
3 Preludes: Con spirito
3 Preludes: Agitato
3 Preludes: Vivace
Amourette, Op. 48
Valse de Bravoure, Op. 5

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