Music and Vision homepage Classical Music Programme Notes for concerts and recordings, by Malcolm Miller

CD Spotlight

Lightness of Touch

Brahms and Strauss -
heard by
PATRIC STANDFORD

'... a very fine performance by Joshua Pierce ...'

Joshua Pierce plays Brahms and Strauss. © 2009 MSR Classics

The New York pianist Joshua Pierce has recorded an impressive range of concertante music from Beethoven and his contemporaries to Rachmaninov, Gershwin, Casella and Respighi, with a wide range of American or Americanized composers, and making a notable contribution to our familiarity with twentieth century American piano music. His award winning series of recordings for Wergo devoted to the work of John Cage, with whom he was closely associated for over twenty years, led to him introducing Cage to Russian audiences in Moscow and Kazan ten years ago to great acclaim, no doubt a fascinating discovery for them.

His recording of the D minor concerto by Brahms (No 1) is that of a live performance in Bratislava on 24 June 1993, three years after the collapse of communist regimes in Eastern Europe, and during the early years of what was called the democratic Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia which stirring times, at least to the unnamed writer of the insert notes, 'can be heard in the strong and vibrant character of this performance ...' It is certainly a vigorous performance which seems to demonstrate a positive partnership between Pierce and conductor Paul Freeman, though the orchestral strings generally sound rather abrasively metallic at times in a score that might expect a warmer gut smoothness. The final Rondo is as it should be, a well-balanced and exuberant recreation...

Copyright © 9 September 2010 Patric Standford,
Wakefield UK

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CD INFORMATION: JOSHUA PIERCE PLAYS BRAHMS AND STRAUSS

JOHANNES BRAHMS

RICHARD STRAUSS

CZECH NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

PAUL FREEMAN

MSR CLASSICS

GERMANY

SLOVAKIA

CZECH REPUBLIC

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

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