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Arthur Foote: Complete Piano Music / Kirsten Johnson

Foote / Johnson,Kirsten
Release Date: 08/27/2013 
Label:  Delos   Catalog #: 3442  
Composer:  Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 3 Hours 39 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Where has this delightful, well-crafted, thoroughly idiomatic, tuneful (though harmonically conservative), and unpretentious piano music been for the past century? Listen to any piece at random, blindfolded, and you’ll agree, although you’ll be hard-pressed to identify the composer. Unknown Brahms? Meatier than usual Mendelssohn? Or Richard Strauss as a prodigious teenager? Not Schumann—the piano writing is not crazy enough—but there’s that same rumbling energy.

Perhaps the D minor Prelude we’re hearing now actually was an unpublished Schumann piece that Brahms reworked while taking a break from composing his Op. 79 Rhapsodies. What about the Toccata that superficially resembles
Read more Moszkowski’s La jongleuse, yet with darker, thicker hues more appropriate to the concert hall than the salon? Turning to a group of 20 Preludes in the form of short technical studies, you suspect the hand of Grieg—that is, if Grieg had written piano etudes. Then again, the forceful and texturally rich left-hand study from this group suggests Saint-Saëns blurring the lines between eloquent and pedantic.

Further compositions are characterized by their easy, uncluttered flow and freedom from neurotic angst. Dvorák in a less syncopated mood than usual? Percy Grainger folksong transcriptions without the quirks? The mystery man turns out to be the Boston-based American composer Arthur William Foote (1853-1937), who also was a prominent organist and a long-time New England Conservatory faculty member. Although he was completely educated in America, Foote never swayed from the influence of his European role models, even after younger colleagues like Ives, Griffes, and Copland began to develop a distinct American sound in classical music.

In contrast to his larger, more substantial chamber and orchestral works, Foote’s piano output entirely consists of salon-like miniatures or groups of short pieces that either can be performed integrally or as excerpts. Because most of these works have been out of print for decades, pianist and longtime keyboard rarity advocate Kirsten Johnson had to do considerable detective work in order to obtain the scores. More importantly, she appears to have put in comparable practice hours, borne out by her consistently sonorous virtuosity and tasteful musicianship, abetted by a first-rate Steinway grand and an appropriately resonant yet never muddy recording venue. A major addition to the catalog.

-- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Morceaux (3), Op. 3 by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
2.
Pieces (5) for Piano, Op. 6 by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
Notes: 
No. 1. Prelude 00:02:39
No. 2. Nocturne 00:05:28
No. 3. Sarabande 00:02:57
No. 4. Petite valse pour la main gauche 00:02:49
No. 5. Polonaise 00:05:14
 
3.
A Pedal Study in F major by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
4.
Gavotte, Op. 8, no 1 by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
5.
Eclogue, Op. 8, no 2 by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
6.
Suite no 1 in D minor, Op. 15 by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
Notes: 
No. 1. Prelude 00:03:01
No. 2. Fugue 00:02:44
No. 3. Romance 00:04:31
No. 4. Capriccio 00:03:15
 
7.
Piano Pieces, Op. 18 by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
8.
Suite no 2 in C minor, Op. 30 by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
Notes: 
No. 1. Prelude 00:03:50
No. 2. Romance 00:07:41
No. 3. Toccata 00:04:13
 
9.
Studies (9), Op. 27 by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
10.
Bagatelles (5) for Piano, Op. 34 by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
Notes: 
No. 1. Pierrot 00:02:11
No. 2. Pierrette 00:03:21
No. 3. Without Haste, Without Rest, "Etude mignonne" 00:02:18
No. 4. Idyl 00:03:11
No. 5. Valse peu dansante 00:02:16
 
11.
Piano Pieces (3) for the Left-Hand, Op. 37 by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
Notes: 
No. 1. Prelude etude 00:02:45
No. 2. Polka 00:01:36
No. 3. Romanze 00:04:07
 
12.
Poems (5) after Omar Khayyam for Piano, Op. 41 by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1900; USA 
Notes: 
No. 1. Iram indeed is gone … 00:02:30
No. 2. They say the Lion and the Lizard … 00:04:03
No. 3. Think, in this battered Caravanserai … - Yet ah, that Spring … 00:03:18
No. 4. A Book of Verses … 00:02:49
No. 5. Yon rising Moon … 00:04:25
 
13.
Pieces (2) for Piano, Op. 42 by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
14.
Little Etude in A minor by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
15.
Preludes (20) in the Form of Short Technical Studies, Op. 52 by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
Notes: 
No. 1. Non troppo allegro 00:00:52
No. 2. Moderato (Right hand alone) 00:00:57
No. 3. Allegro 00:00:57
No. 4. Allegretto (Left hand alone) 00:01:04
No. 5. Andante espressivo 00:01:09
No. 6. Moderato 00:00:46
No. 7. Moderato 00:01:00 No. 8. Espressivo 00:00:55
No. 9. Allegro brillante 00:00:44
No. 10. Allegro molto 00:00:40
No. 11. Allegretto 00:00:41
No. 12. Sostenuto 00:01:16
No. 13. Andante espressivo 00:01:05
No. 14. Allegro 00:00:53
No. 15. Molto allegro 00:00:55
No. 16. Allegro moderato 00:00:48
No. 17. Moderato 00:00:48
No. 18. Allegro 00:00:48
No. 19. Moderato 00:01:12
No. 20. Senza tempo 00:00:48
 
16.
Serenade, Op. 45 by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
Notes: 
No. 1. Aubade 00:02:37
No. 2. Air 00:03:22
No. 3. A Dance 00:02:38
No. 4. Finale 00:00:44
No. 5. Toccatina 00:01:32
 
17.
An Irish Folk Song by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
18.
Compositions (2), Op. 60 by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
19.
Meditation, Op. 61 by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
20.
Pieces (2) for Piano, Op. 62 by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
21.
Silhouettes (5), Op. 73 by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
Notes: 
No. 1. Prelude 00:02:13
No. 2. Dusk 00:04:07
No. 3. Valse triste 00:02:28
No. 4. Flying Cloud 00:01:50
No. 5. Oriental Dance 00:02:36
 
22.
Octave Study in G minor by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
23.
Rondo in G major by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
24.
From Rest Harrow by Arthur Foote
Performer:  Kirsten Johnson (Piano)
Notes: 
No. 1. Morning Glories 00:01:50
No. 2. Rain on the Garret Roof 00:01:09
No. 3. A Country Song 00:01:32
No. 4. Country Dance 00:01:03
No. 5. Alla Turca 00:00:54
 

Sound Samples

3 Morceaux, Op. 3: No. 1. Impromptu
3 Morceaux, Op. 3: No. 2. Gavotte
3 Morceaux, Op. 3: No. 3. Mazurka
5 Pieces, Op. 6: No. 1. Prelude
5 Pieces, Op. 6: No. 2. Nocturne
5 Pieces, Op. 6: No. 3. Sarabande
5 Pieces, Op. 6: No. 4. Petite valse pour la main gauche
5 Pieces, Op. 6: No. 5. Polonaise
A Pedal Study in F major
Gavotte, Op. 8, No. 1
Eclogue, Op. 8, No. 2
Suite No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15: No. 1. Prelude
Suite No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15: No. 2. Fugue
Suite No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15: No. 3. Romance
Suite No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15: No. 4. Capriccio
Piano Pieces, Op. 18: No. 1. Serenade
Piano Pieces, Op. 18: No. 2. Humoresque
Suite No. 2 in C minor, Op. 30: No. 1. Prelude
Suite No. 2 in C minor, Op. 30: No. 2. Romance
Suite No. 2 in C minor, Op. 30: No. 3. Toccata
9 Studies, Op. 27: No. 1. Moderato grazioso
9 Studies, Op. 27: No. 2. Andante espressivo
9 Studies, Op. 27: No. 3. Allegro non troppo
9 Studies, Op. 27: No. 4. Andante con moto
9 Studies, Op. 27: No. 5. Allegretto grazioso
9 Studies, Op. 27: No. 6. Allegro
9 Studies, Op. 27: No. 7. Andante espressivo
9 Studies, Op. 27: No. 8. A Pedal Study
9 Studies, Op. 27: No. 9. Non troppo allegro
5 Bagatelles, Op. 34: No. 1. Pierrot
5 Bagatelles, Op. 34: No. 2. Pierrette
5 Bagatelles, Op. 34: No. 3. Without Haste, Without Rest, "Etude mignonne"
5 Bagatelles, Op. 34: No. 4. Idyl
5 Bagatelles, Op. 34: No. 5. Valse peu dansante
3 Piano Pieces for the Left-Hand, Op. 37: No. 1. Prelude etude
3 Piano Pieces for the Left-Hand, Op. 37: No. 2. Polka
3 Piano Pieces for the Left-Hand, Op. 37: No. 3. Romanze
5 Poems after Omar Khayyam, Op. 41: No. 1. Iram indeed is gone ...
5 Poems after Omar Khayyam, Op. 41: No. 2. They say the Lion and the Lizard ...
5 Poems after Omar Khayyam, Op. 41: No. 3. Think, in this battered Caravanserai ... - Yet ah, that Spring ...
5 Poems after Omar Khayyam, Op. 41: No. 4. A Book of Verses ...
5 Poems after Omar Khayyam, Op. 41: No. 5. Yon rising Moon ...
2 Pieces, Op. 42: No. 1. Scherzino
2 Pieces, Op. 42: No. 2. Etude arabesque
Little Etude, A minor

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