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American Classics - Ornstein: Piano Sonatas, Etc / Weber


Release Date: 07/16/2002 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559104   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Leo Ornstein
Performer:  Janice Weber
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Throughout his long compositional career Leo Ornstein (1892?-2002) wrote effective, fluid, and idiomatic piano music whose sheer creative and physical energy holds your attention yet leaves you wondering if you've heard these tunes, these harmonies, these textures before. Put on the opening selection, A Morning in the Woods, written in 1971 (when Ornstein was 81 or thereabouts, no one knows for sure) and A/B its lacey melodic threads and gentle chord voicings against Chick Corea's rhapsodic solo improvisations. Then try to guess who's who! As for the 1924 Fourth Piano Sonata, how did Debussy's Claire de lune wind up in the first movement, or late Scriabin in the Lento? The final Vivo sounds like
Read more what might have happened had Scriabin rewritten Granados' Goyescas. Age-of-steel Prokofiev motor rhythms, alkalized Ives outbursts, and snatches of guileless lyric beauty interweave throughout the Seventh Sonata--a rambling yet amazingly confident work for a 98-year-old! A Long Remembered Source, from 1964, is a free-floating fantasia in the key of Ravel. Interestingly, the earliest works (Danse Sauvage, Impressions of the Thames, and Suicide in an Airplane) seem the most modern in their determined pursuit of clusters and clatter.


The performances are simply breathtaking. Janice Weber's super-proficiency feeds upon difficult, off-the-beaten-path piano repertoire. Her few recordings include a long-deleted ASV disc of Strauss waltz transcriptions, plus the disc premiere of Liszt's Transcendental Etudes in their horrendously hard 1838 versions. She also participated in Ornstein's meaty Piano Quintet, released by New World. Not surprisingly, Weber's pliable hands reveal Ornstein's elaborate textures in their most natural, effortless-sounding state, abetted by Naxos' ample, detailed engineering. Fascinating music, superlative pianism, excellent sound, and low price: need we say more? [9/18/2002]
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Morning in the Woods by Leo Ornstein
Performer:  Janice Weber (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971; USA 
2. Wild Men's Dance, Op. 13 no 2 "Danse sauvage" by Leo Ornstein
Performer:  Janice Weber (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1915; USA 
3. Sonata for Piano no 4 by Leo Ornstein
Performer:  Janice Weber (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; USA 
4. A Long Remembered Sorrow by Leo Ornstein
Performer:  Janice Weber (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1964; USA 
5. Sonata for Piano no 7 by Leo Ornstein
Performer:  Janice Weber (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1988; USA 
6. Suicide in an Airplane by Leo Ornstein
Performer:  Janice Weber (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1915; USA 
7. Impressions de la Tamise, Op. 13 no 1 by Leo Ornstein
Performer:  Janice Weber (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914; USA 
8. Tarantelle diabolique by Leo Ornstein
Performer:  Janice Weber (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960; USA 

Sound Samples

A Morning in the Woods
Wild Men's Dance (Danse sauvage), Op. 13, No. 2: Danse Sauvage (Wild Men's Dance)
Piano Sonata No. 4: Moderato con moto
Piano Sonata No. 4: Semplice
Piano Sonata No. 4: Lento
Piano Sonata No. 4: Vivo
Impressions de la Tamise, Op.13, No. 1: Impressions of the Thames
Tarantelle diabolique: Tarantelle
Piano Sonata No. 7: Molto con moto
Piano Sonata No. 7: Andante
Piano Sonata No. 7: Allegro
A Long Remembered Sorrow
Suicide in an Airplane

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