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<<  -- 3 --  Gordon Rumson    PERFECTLY PACED


Of Friedman's original compositions it is harder to speak because he has a style of his own that on superficial acquaintance could be mistaken for Rachmaninoff. Some time ago when I first heard the 'Ballade', Op 66 (certainly one of the best) I had to listen to it numerous times before I 'got it'. And when I did, it was well worth it. Lights went on and Friedman's compositional trajectory became crystal clear. This is actually the sign of a good composer: he knows his target and hits it. It is the listener who must make the effort. And don't we make the effort when the signature is Schubert, Liszt or Bach? Why should we do less for Friedman [listen -- track 14, 0:00-0:41]?

The only work on this CD that did not attract me was the 'Studies on a theme of Paganini.' Yes, that theme and after Liszt, Brahms and Rachmaninoff I feel the musical matter has been wrung out of the macabre violinist's harmless harmonic progression. Alan Walker, who wrote this album's perceptive and valuable notes, thinks the opposite, believing this work should be in the standard repertoire. Without doubt it is an imaginative composition.

Valerie Tryon is an excellent pianist and musician who grasps the style of these pieces beautifully: serious when needed and a bit of whipped cream for the fluffy stuff. Her sound and phrasing are gorgeous. My only quibble is that the piano sounds like it was recorded well and then had some kind of reverberation added later. But then I'm rarely convinced by the recorded sound of the piano. This is a CD worth having and we should look forward to the rest of the series.

Copyright © 3 February 2001 Gordon Rumson, Calgary, Alberta, Canada






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