Notes and Editorial Reviews
Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in d
The Four Temperaments
Concerto Grosso No. 1
Joshua Pierce (pn); Kirk Trevor, cond;
MSR 1415 (74:19)
Here’s an imaginative bouquet of three baroque concertos—one
—played by a pianist with wide-ranging sympathies but a special reputation in music of the 20th century. Granted, on the whole, as Susan Kagan mentioned with respect to his first foray into Schubert (
33:3), Pierce’s interpretations can be low on nuance, particularly with regard to dynamics and harmonic flavor. That’s a special problem with the more inward music: certainly, the
at the center of the Bach could be delivered with more allure. And even a few of the more energetic patches rattle along at a constant level of both volume and intensity (try the highly wrought first movement of the Bach). Still, rhythms are consistently engaging: there’s plenty of zip where required (say, in the finale of the Bach or the piano’s vital entry in the Hindemith), and the dance qualities of the Hindemith (which can sound, if not quite forbidding, then at least ascetic in lesser hands) have an infectious lilt. Add to this the sparkling textures and the pianist’s sure technical control, and you have a trio of performances that offer plenty of musical rewards. The presence of the under-appreciated Bloch, with a relatively modest solo part rarely taken up by pianists of Pierce’s stature, is especially welcome.
Conductor Kirk Trevor has the measure of the music (I especially enjoyed the playfulness of the Hindemith and the tough demeanor of Bloch’s fourth-movement fugue). He’s supported by alert orchestral playing from both groups, although (at least as represented here) their tone is a touch shrill and lacking in weight, a special problem in the climax of the last movement of the Hindemith. The engineering is generally undistinguished, with some poor balances and little sense of acoustic space; but Eric Salzman’s notes are typically detailed. All in all, if the particular combination of works appeals, you should find this an attractive collection.
FANFARE: Peter J. Rabinowitz
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Harpsichord in D minor, BWV 1052 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Joshua Pierce (Piano)
Written: circa 1738-1739; Leipzig, Germany
Venue: Moyzes Hall, Bratislava, Slovakia
Length: 23 Minutes 16 Secs.
Concerto grosso no 1 for String Orchestra and Piano by Ernest Bloch
Joshua Pierce (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1924-1925; USA
Date of Recording: 06/06/2007
Venue: The Slovak Radio Concert Hall, Bratislav
Length: 21 Minutes 21 Secs.
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