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Persichetti & Pupils / Richard Zimdars

Persichetti / Richter / Druckman / Zimdars
Release Date: 11/08/2011 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 1310  
Composer:  Vincent PersichettiMarga RichterJacob Druckman
Performer:  Richard Zimdars
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



PERSICHETTI Piano Sonata No. 9. Winter Solstice. RICHTER Piano Sonata. Remembrances. 8 Pieces for Piano. DRUCKMAN The 7 Deadly Sins Richard Zimdars (pn) ALBANY 1310 (76:32)


Following his foray into the music of Charles Ives, Henry Cowell, Dane Rudhyar, and Aaron Copland, which was met Read more with great critical acclaim (see James H. North’s review in Fanfare 33:3), pianist Richard Zimdars returns for a welcome encore. Perhaps seeking to emulate the success of his previous recording, Zimdars follows pretty much the same formula on this new recording. More specifically, he performs two not particularly well-known works of a well-known American composer—Vincent Persichetti—alongside major works written by two of Persichetti’s lesser-known composition students—Marga Richter and Jacob Druckman. (I say that Richter and Druckman are lesser known because Persichetti counted among his students Einojuhani Rautavaara, Philip Glass, and Richard Danielpour.) Does this tried-and-true formula pay dividends for Zimdars? You bet it does.


The two Persichetti works are programmed first. The neoclassical Ninth Sonata, written in 1952, is an agreeable, gentle piece that shows Persichetti still working under the spell of Stravinsky, Hindemith, and Bartók. Zimdars plays it very well, although the dry humor of this score might have been enhanced by a slightly faster tempo. (In his recording of the complete Persichetti sonatas, Geoffrey Burleson shaves nearly two minutes off Zimdars’s time.) The second Persichetti work included here also happens to be the last one the composer completed before his death in 1987. Appropriately titled Winter Solstice , this work reflects Persichetti’s mature style: abstract, disciplined, nostalgic, and affecting. I have not heard this piece performed before—Zimdars is the first pianist to commit it to disc—but this performance strikes me as beyond reproach.


While they may not receive top billing, Marga Richter’s works are in my view the real sleepers on this recording. In particular, the sonata, which was written in 1954 (when Richter was only 28), reveals the mind of a fully realized master composer. It is a whale of a piece—25 minutes in length—that makes enormous demands on the performer and the listener. Although the last movement bears a striking resemblance to Bartók, for the most part Richter seems to have already found her voice. Even though Zimdars’s recording is my introduction to this piece, I have no doubt that Richter’s sonata is one of the most important works written for the piano after 1950. To my ears, the meditative, neoromantic Remembrances (written in 1977) and the aphoristic Eight Pieces for Piano (written in 1961) are not as impressive as the sonata, but they add to the listener’s understanding of Richter’s musical interests and range.


Composed in 1955, Jacob Druckman’s Seven Deadly Sins is an interesting work, if only because anything that deals with the potential eternal damnation of the soul tends to be interesting. Incidentally, I am touched by Druckman’s obvious sympathy for the character depicted in Sloth . (The other characters receive no such mercy.)


The sound is good, but slightly muffled in the Persichetti and Richter works. The Druckman tracks have excellent sound.


Enthusiastically recommended to those with an interest in contemporary music, and doubly so considering that Zimdars’s recordings of Persichetti’s Winter Solstice , Richter’s Remembrances and Eight Pieces for Piano, and the Druckman work are world premieres.


FANFARE: Radu A. Lelutiu
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Piano no 9, Op. 58 by Vincent Persichetti
Performer:  Richard Zimdars (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952; USA 
2.
Winter Solstice, Op. 165 by Vincent Persichetti
Performer:  Richard Zimdars (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
3.
Sonata for Piano by Marga Richter
Performer:  Richard Zimdars (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
4.
Remembrances by Marga Richter
Performer:  Richard Zimdars (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
5.
Pieces (8) for Piano by Marga Richter
Performer:  Richard Zimdars (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
6.
The Seven Deadly Sins by Jacob Druckman
Performer:  Richard Zimdars (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 

Sound Samples

Sonata No. 9, Op. 58: Piano
Winter Solstice, Op. 165
Piano Sonata: I. Slow - Very Fast
Piano Sonata: II. Slow
Piano Sonata: III. Fast - Slower, Very Broad
Remembrances
8 Pieces (version for piano): No. 1. Slow
8 Pieces (version for piano): No. 2. Fast
8 Pieces (version for piano): No. 3. Slow
8 Pieces (version for piano): No. 4. Barbarously
8 Pieces (version for piano): No. 5. Slowly
8 Pieces (version for piano): No. 6. Fast
8 Pieces (version for piano): No. 7. Veiled, misty
8 Pieces (version for piano): No. 8. Slow
The 7 Deadly Sins: No. 1. Pride
The 7 Deadly Sins: No. 2. Envy
The 7 Deadly Sins: No. 3. Anger
The 7 Deadly Sins: No. 4. Sloth
The 7 Deadly Sins: No. 5. Avarice
The 7 Deadly Sins: No. 6. Gluttony
The 7 Deadly Sins: No. 7. Carnality

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