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Victor Herbert: Works for Cello & Piano / Jerry Grossman, William Hicks

Notes & Reviews:

In the decades surrounding the turn of the twentieth century, Victor Herbert (1859 - 1924) was one of several American composers who achieved success not only in larger symphonic forms, but also in shorter pieces for amateur music-making at home. These so-called "parlor" genres are the focus of this set, and are works which reflect the genteel sensibilities of those who purchased this music and performed it with their family and friends. The mass manufacture of pianos beginning in the middle of the nineteenth century created an enormous demand for music to play on an instrument which had become a fixture of domestic life among the burgeoning middle class throughout the country. As music for the home, these works are mostly within the technical reach of casual players (although Herbert, a virtuoso cellist in his own right, performed a number of the works in concert). These pieces represent popular genres of the time: waltzes, ragtime, and shorter "character pieces" which are brief evocations of a particular scene or sentiment. Many earlier European composers had cultivated works in the forms Herbert used yet his overall style - its earnestness, its directness of approach, its preference for lyricism over pathos - marks it as reflective of an aesthetic common in American parlor music of the time.

BBC Music Magazine
Mostly written for home use, Victor Herbert's pieces are melodious, sentimental, suavely European with the odd Irish twang.


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