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Piano Character Pieces from Four Continents: Works of A. Tcherepnin, William Matthews, Natalie Williams, Huck Hodge, Ji Eun Moon & Gilad Cohen / Richard Zimdars, piano

Notes & Reviews:

All of the works on this recording may be labeled character pieces, a catchall term that covers compositions that are not sonatas, variations, dances, toccatas, fantasies or fugal works. The term originated in the late 1820s and referred almost exclusively to solo piano pieces. Pianist Richard Zimdars performs 20th and 21st century compositions written by composers from Russia, the U.S., Australia, Korea, and Israel. Zimdars, recently retired from a 40-year teaching and performing career, performed and lectured in Europe, Brazil, Canada and the U.S. His extensive discography includes the complete piano music of Roy Harris (on Albany Records) as well as Charles Ives' four violin sonatas and numerous recordings of works by contemporary composers. He was artistic director of the 2011 American Liszt Society Festival and organizer of the American Liszt Society Bicentennial Composition Competition.

American Record Guide, September/October 2015
A fine program of miniatures, mostly recent - the only exception is Alexandre Tcherepnin's charming Expressions, composed in 1951, which appear to be aimed at an intermediate level player. As is always the case for Tcherepnin, the harmonies are fresh and vibrant, the rhythms supple, the melodies graceful. Closest to Tcherepnin, perhaps, is the Ballade by Gilad Cohen, a work composed shortly after he moved from Israel to the US; it is an expansive. William Matthews's Evening Music - Summer includes eight prepared piano strings (resulting primarily in complex, bell-like sonorities); these are integrated judiciously yet effectively with the unprepared tones to produce a lovely and atmospheric fantasy. The remaining works - by Natalie Williams, Ji Eun Moon, and Huck Hodge, cover comparably wide expressive and musical terrain. Sound is fine.


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