Music and Vision homepage Jenna Orkin: Writer Wannabe Seeks Brush With Death - From the heights of greatness (the Juilliard School; musicians Rosalyn Tureck and Nadia Boulanger) via way-ward paths to the depths of wickedness these reminiscences will entertain and enlighten.


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Tracks 1, 3 and 15 feature all 5 Browns, and the amount of sound that comes from five pianos is astonishing. At times they manage to sound very like a Jazz Band in that version of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue [listen -- track 1, 0:47-1:53]. Unfortunately, the notes don't acknowledge the arranger for the pairing of Copland's Shaker hymn 'Simple Gifts' from Appalachian Spring and Dvorák's 'Going Home' theme from his Ninth Symphony. It's a masterful idea, fully realized by the group. The Firebird by Stravinsky comes to vivid life under the fifty fingers of the siblings. It begins with the utmost delicacy, and evolves into effervescent musical color [listen -- track 15, 7:10-8:36].

Sisters Desirae and Deondra perform first as a duet (four hands, one piano) in The 'Feria' section of Ravel's Rapsodie espagnole which is gorgeously lyrical and evocative, bringing forth the composer's picturesque Spanish scene. Later, they each get their own instrument for a scintillating version of the two-piano duo by Witold Lutoslawski -- his Variations on a Theme of Paganini.

The most recent composition featured on the CD -- Gargoyles, Op 29, by Lowell Liebermann (born 1941), or two sections of it -- show the formidable interpretive talent of Melody Brown.

Brother Greg shines in two solo tracks: Full Stride Ahead, Rag by John Novacek, and Hungarian Rhapsody No 6 -- Franz Liszt. It's probably not coincidence that both of these works are strongly -- if quirkily -- rhythmical, rather forceful pianistic displays, at which he very clearly excels.

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Copyright © 4 April 2006 Kelly Ferjutz, Cleveland USA


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