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Record Box - Planning your collection - with Bill Newman

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Global Fascinations and Sophistications

Howard Hanson

 

Howard Hanson Piano Music (c) 2000 HNH International Ltd

In the case of Howard Hanson, that gruff-sounding Nebraskan of Nordic descent, I had no inkling that there were nearly 76 minutes of solo piano music from his pen. The Piano Concerto, first recorded by Firkusny with the composer, was later re-recorded by Mercury, but between 1917 and 1970 no less than eight solo works appeared: two Yuletide Pieces, Poemes érotiques, Sonata in A minor -- completed by Thomas Labe, the excellent exponent here, Three Miniatures, Three Etudes, Enchantment, For the first time, and Slumber Song. Some of the titles read like a catalogue of Grieg's Lyric Pieces titles, but Hanson's musical intentions are purposely bolder, whimsically suggestive in their fairy-tale imagery, and romantically extrovert in directness of statement. Lullaby, the second of the Miniatures is one of the few exceptions [listen track 10, 0:31-01:31] but The Eccentric Clock, the fourth of the pictorial movements from For the first time [listen -- track 19, 0:00-0:51] arranged for piano leaves us with no illusions about its dry-witted composer.

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Copyright © 15 November 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK

 

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