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American Character - Piano Music of George Whitefield Chadwick


Release Date: 03/29/2005 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 745   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  George W. Chadwick
Performer:  Peter Kairoff
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A delightful disc, full of charming music from one of America's most respected composers of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Peter Kairoff writes: "The music of George Whitefield Chadwick is not nearly as well known as it ought to be. Although widely respected and admired in his lifetime, his music fell into relative obscurity after his death, and is only recently performed once more with any frequency. His piano music, in particular, has suffered from neglect: very few of the pieces on this disc have ever been recorded before. Why this should be so remains something of a mystery, for many of Chadwick's piano works display the same inventiveness, charm and craftsmanship found in his orchestral and chamber works.
Read more The title of this disc - American Character - reflects the fact that all of Chadwick's piano music is written in the style of the 'Character Piece': brief, memorable evocations of one particular mood or image. Chadwick was certainly able to craft large-scale forms when he wanted to, as he did in his symphonies and chamber works to great effect. But his piano works are all on a smaller scale, like Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words, Grieg's Lyric Pieces, and so many other piano pieces of the nineteenth century. And like those models. Chadwick's piano music often evokes the world of Art Song, that wonderful and evocative fusion of poetry and music which was so popular in the nineteenth century. Like Art Song, these piano pieces capture a single vivid mood or visual image: a rushing stream, an aspen tree shuddering in the breeze, or even a group of noisy frogs. At his death in 1931, Chadwick was hailed by the influential critic Olin Downes in The New York Times as the composer who "represents most completely the body of serious American music." Taste shifted, of course, and all too soon Chadwick's music was forgotten, or dismissed as old fashioned. But now taste seems to be shifting back, and we are better able to appreciate the creativity, craftsmanship, and charm of a composer who himself was something of an American Character."

R E V I E W S:

This is a delightful disc, full of charming music... Five Pieces for Piano (1905) contains a number of memorable tunes and evocative musical images, including The Frogs, In the Canoe, and The Rill. The earlier Three Waltzes aren't as original, but they are very pretty and full of Chopinesque tidbits, as is the Reminiscence of Chopin from Six Characteristic Pieces Op. 7. Chadwick's titles are unfailingly accurate and unpretentious, a sure indication of what to expect musically: witness the adorable Scherzino and Irish Melody from the same set.

Also impressive is the sheer craftsmanship of Chadwick's work, and happily he has found an excellent proponent in Peter Kairoff, who tackles this unassuming music with the necessary lightness, energy, and where called for (In the Gloaming; Nocturne in D-flat), a good measure of poetry as well. He's also very naturally recorded, save for a very light buzz in the left channel that's barely audible in the first two of the Three Waltzes. This may not be important music, but it's very entertaining and would grace any recital program. Since we'll probably never hear any of it live, I can recommend this extremely pleasing disc all the more strongly, and without hesitation.

– David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

Also available: American Reverie - Piano Music of Horatio Parker / Kairoff
"...music of great charm, impeccable craftsmanship and sincere expression."
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Pieces (5) for Piano by George W. Chadwick
Performer:  Peter Kairoff (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1905; USA 
Date of Recording: 11/27/2004 
Venue:  Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem 
Length: 18 Minutes 45 Secs. 
2.
Waltzes (3) for Piano by George W. Chadwick
Performer:  Peter Kairoff (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; USA 
Date of Recording: 11/27/2004 
Venue:  Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem 
Length: 7 Minutes 58 Secs. 
3.
Character Pieces (6) for Piano, Op. 7 by George W. Chadwick
Performer:  Peter Kairoff (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; USA 
Date of Recording: 11/27/2004 
Venue:  Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem 
Length: 13 Minutes 20 Secs. 
4.
Caprices (2) for Piano by George W. Chadwick
Performer:  Peter Kairoff (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1888; USA 
Date of Recording: 11/27/2004 
Venue:  Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem 
Length: 8 Minutes 14 Secs. 
5.
Children's Pieces (3) for Piano by George W. Chadwick
Performer:  Peter Kairoff (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895; USA 
Date of Recording: 11/27/2004 
Venue:  Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem 
Length: 3 Minutes 6 Secs. 
6.
Chanson Orientale by George W. Chadwick
Performer:  Peter Kairoff (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1895; USA 
Date of Recording: 11/27/2004 
Venue:  Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem 
Length: 3 Minutes 4 Secs. 
7.
Nocturne for Piano in D flat major by George W. Chadwick
Performer:  Peter Kairoff (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895; USA 
Date of Recording: 11/27/2004 
Venue:  Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem 
Length: 3 Minutes 21 Secs. 
8.
The Aspen by George W. Chadwick
Performer:  Peter Kairoff (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1925; USA 
Date of Recording: 11/27/2004 
Venue:  Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem 
Length: 3 Minutes 7 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Waltzes for Piano: Waltz in F minor

Sound Samples

5 Pieces for Piano: No. 1. The Frogs
5 Pieces for Piano: No. 2. In the Canoe
5 Pieces for Piano: No. 3. The Rill
5 Pieces for Piano: No. 4. In the Gloaming
5 Pieces for Piano: No. 5. Prelude Joyeux
3 Waltzes: No. 1 in F minor
3 Waltzes: No. 2 in E flat major
3 Waltzes: No. 3 in A flat major
6 Characteristic Pieces, Op. 7: No. 1. Congratulation
6 Characteristic Pieces, Op. 7: No. 2. Please Do
6 Characteristic Pieces, Op. 7: No. 3. Scherzino
6 Characteristic Pieces, Op. 7: No. 4. Reminscence of Chopin
6 Characteristic Pieces, Op. 7: No. 5. Irish Melody
6 Characteristic Pieces, Op. 7: No. 6. Etude
2 Caprices: No. 1 in G minor
2 Caprices: No. 2 in C major
3 Pieces for Children: No. 1. Ye Robin
3 Pieces for Children: No. 2. Evening Prayer
3 Pieces for Children: No. 3. Diddle-Diddle Dumpling
Chanson Orientale
Nocturne in D flat major
The Aspen

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