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The World Of Crawford-Seeger / Jenny Lin, Timothy Jones


Release Date: 01/29/2002 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1310   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ruth Crawford Seeger
Performer:  Jenny LinTimothy Jones
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews


Pianist Jenny Lin, in her second release for BIS, scores with a program that's as substantial and historically important as her first (Chinoiserie) was entertaining and amusing. Ruth Crawford Seeger commands respect for a number of reasons: as one of the first significant American woman composers; as a representative of the progressive school in the first decades of the last century; and not least as an ethnomusicologist and expert on American folksong. This first CD devoted entirely to the original piano works (there are also numerous folksong arrangements) not only contains several world premieres but also permits us to see the composer's achievement whole, in all its variety. Just as importantly,
Read more while some of these pieces have enjoyed previous recordings, Lin's performances equal or better the competition in every case.


The pieces here fall into two broad categories: first, lightly diverting character pieces of conservative cast (Little Waltz, Little Lullaby, Caprice, Jumping the Rope, Whirligig), some composed with a pedagogical purpose (We Dance Together, Mr. Crow and Miss Wren Go for a Walk--A little study in short trills); second, more exploratory works that take notice of various more modern trends such as impressionistic or chromatic harmony, free atonality, expressionism, and complex rhythms. These are the pieces that offer the pianist real technical and interpretive opportunities, and Lin makes the most of them. In a transitional work such as the Sonata of 1923, her bravura attack on the music's eruptive elements traces the emergence of Crawford Seeger's mature style with the same clarity with which we can see a painter like Mondrian beginning to reduce traditional or naturalistic forms and images to a few basic, abstract lines. The Theme and Variations from the same year continues this process, offering Lin scope for some brilliantly clear finger work (in the first variation especially) and Lisztian display.


In the marvelous Kaleidoscopic Changes on an Original Theme, Lin simply outplays Virginia Eskin (Albany), offering both greater structural integration and more physical excitement. The Nine Preludes, Crawford Seeger's most popular keyboard works, appear here in two groups of five and four respectively, this second batch incorporating for the first time unpublished corrections to the printed text in the composer's own hand. Sarah Cahill recently recorded an outstanding version of the preludes for New Albion, and her smoother tone and magical pianissimos complement Lin's more sinewy, highly contrasted approach. In the Eighth Prelude, for example, Lin takes a bit more time than Cahill but also offers a greater range of tempo and dynamics. Lin adds to her program all three possible versions of the challenging Piano Study in Mixed Accents (though they are listed in the booklet in the wrong order), and plays them perfectly.


The program concludes with The Adventures of Tom Thumb for narrator and piano, a delightful piece in the same vein as Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf--or (more aptly) Poulenc's The Story of Babar the Little Elephant (dating from 1925, Tom Thumb actually precedes both chronologically). The composer's daughter, Peggy Seeger, completed the text especially for this recording, while Lin and narrator Timothy Jones enthusiastically chart the story's progress in words and tones. Toss in excellent recorded sound, very informative notes (though the tray card misidentifies some of the premieres), and the result is a 75-minute-long program that combines both revealing scholarship and care in repertoire selection with musicianship of the very highest caliber.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
The Little Waltz by Ruth Crawford Seeger
Performer:  Jenny Lin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
2.
Little Lullaby by Ruth Crawford Seeger
Performer:  Jenny Lin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
3.
Jumping the Rope by Ruth Crawford Seeger
Performer:  Jenny Lin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
4.
Caprice for Piano by Ruth Crawford Seeger
Performer:  Jenny Lin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
5.
Whirligig by Ruth Crawford Seeger
Performer:  Jenny Lin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
6.
Mr. Cow and Miss Wren Go for a Walk by Ruth Crawford Seeger
Performer:  Jenny Lin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
7.
A Little Study in Short Trills by Ruth Crawford Seeger
Performer:  Jenny Lin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
8.
Sonata for Piano by Ruth Crawford Seeger
Performer:  Jenny Lin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
9.
Theme and Variations for Piano by Ruth Crawford Seeger
Performer:  Jenny Lin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
10.
Canons (5) for Piano by Ruth Crawford Seeger
Performer:  Jenny Lin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
11.
Kaleidoscopic Changes on an Original Theme Ending with Fugue by Ruth Crawford Seeger
Performer:  Jenny Lin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924 
12.
Preludes (5) for Piano by Ruth Crawford Seeger
Performer:  Jenny Lin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924-1925; USA 
13.
Preludes (4) for Piano by Ruth Crawford Seeger
Performer:  Jenny Lin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927-1928; USA 
14.
Study in Mixed Accents by Ruth Crawford Seeger
Performer:  Jenny Lin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; USA 
15.
We Dance Together by Ruth Crawford Seeger
Performer:  Jenny Lin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
16.
Adventures of Tom Thumb by Ruth Crawford Seeger
Performer:  Timothy Jones (Spoken Vocals), Jenny Lin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; USA 
Notes: This work was completed by Peggy Seeger. 

Sound Samples

Little Waltz
Little Lullaby
Jumping the Rope (Playtime)
Caprice
Whirligig
Mr. Crow and Miss Wren Go for a Walk - A Little Study in Short Trills: Mr Crow and Miss Wren Go for a Walk - A Little Study in Short Trills
Piano Sonata
Theme and Variations
5 Canons: I.
5 Canons: II.
5 Canons: III.
5 Canons: IV.
5 Canons: V.
Kaleidoscopic Changes on an Original Theme Ending with a Fugue: Kaleidoscopic Changes on an Original Theme
5 Preludes: Prelude No. 1
5 Preludes: Prelude No. 2
5 Preludes: Prelude No. 3
5 Preludes: Prelude No. 4
5 Preludes: Prelude No. 5
4 Preludes (corrected versions): Prelude No. 6
4 Preludes (corrected versions): Prelude No. 7
4 Preludes (corrected versions): Prelude No. 8
4 Preludes (corrected versions): Prelude No. 9
Piano Study in Mixed Accents: Version 1
Piano Study in Mixed Accents: Version 2
Piano Study in Mixed Accents: Version 3
We Dance Together
Adventures of Tom Thumb: Tom Sets Out
Adventures of Tom Thumb: Tom's First Adventure: Chased By the Angry Tailor's Wife
Adventures of Tom Thumb: Tom's Second Adventure: Stealing the King's Dollars
Adventures of Tom Thumb: Tom's Third Adventure: Sleeping in a Mousehole
Adventures of Tom Thumb: Tom Meets the Mouse: They Gallop Home
Adventures of Tom Thumb: Tom Recounts his Adventures

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