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Bach: Concerto No. 1 In D Minor; Hindemith: The Four Temperaments; Bloch: Concerto Grosso No. 1

Bach / Hindemith / Bloch / Pierce
Release Date: 08/13/2013 
Label:  Msr   Catalog #: 1415   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Paul HindemithJohann Sebastian BachErnest Bloch
Performer:  Joshua Pierce
Conductor:  Kirk Trevor
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BACH Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in d 1. HINDEMITH The Four Temperaments 1. BLOCH Concerto Grosso No. 1 2 Joshua Pierce (pn); Kirk Trevor, cond; 1 Capella Istropolitana; 2 Slovak RSO MSR 1415 (74:19)
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Here’s an imaginative bouquet of three baroque concertos—one echt , two neo —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 ( Fanfare 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 Adagio 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
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Works on This Recording

Theme and Variations for Piano and Strings "The Four Temperaments" by Paul Hindemith
Performer:  Joshua Pierce (Piano)
Conductor:  Kirk Trevor
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; USA 
Venue:  Moyzes Hall, Bratislava, Slovakia 
Length: 27 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Concerto for Harpsichord in D minor, BWV 1052 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Joshua Pierce (Piano)
Conductor:  Kirk Trevor
Period: Baroque 
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
Performer:  Joshua Pierce (Piano)
Conductor:  Kirk Trevor
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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