piano concertos -
reviewed by RON BIERMAN
'... a masterful performance.'
The programming for this disc was a good idea. Short orchestral pieces are used as
preludes to longer piano concertos. The result is odd though because the chosen works
for orchestra don't set the stage very well for the serious concertos that follow.
That's especially true of Andrew Bishop's Crooning, a saccharine tribute to
singers such as Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra and a strange choice to precede
Allen Shawn's brooding piano concerto. Crooning doesn't work as a tribute either.
It trivializes the art of famous singers by using overly-simplified melodic fragments and
ignoring rhythmic drive altogether. The composer writes that, although he has used the
style of older popular standards, the material is original. But the most often heard
fragment and harmonic change are more than suggestive of the beginning of Fly Me to
the Moon, a tune popularized by Sinatra -- and I don't think he would have liked the
arrangement [listen -- track 1, 7:12-8:45].
Copyright © 16 October 2003
Ron Bierman, San Diego, USA