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Two short pieces follow. Firstly, Memorial (1977) was written in memory of Tcherepnin and is certainly the darkest work on the disc. Cluster chords toll like church bells as the music moves slowly, searching in an endless sea of grey. Chromatic Waltz (1993) is a trivial but fun little piece lasting a mere one minute, thirty seconds. Its sardonic wit is expressed with a rising and falling chromatic theme.

Piano Sonata No 1 (1961) is the earliest written work on the disc. Ramey's style isn't quite as sure as the later works but the piece still displays enough professionalism and interest to make it worth hearing.

Ramey has said of this piece that it, 'follows the rules of sonata form ... The style of the outer movements is essentially Prokofievian, brisk and brittle, while the linear slow movement is more personal. The sparkling last movement is based on triplet motion and at one point breaks into a Russian-Jewish-type dance that has never failed to amuse listeners.' [listen -- track 14, 1:21-2:00]

Piano Sonata No 5 (1989) for left hand alone was premièred in the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall, New York in 1991 by Ramon Salvatore. The sonata is a gloomy and angry work. Ramey has the following to say about it: 'The Fifth Sonata is a continuous, tightly constructed, fundamentally tonal score in which I have attempted to compress the drama, but not the development, of an expansive Romantic-era sonata movement into a mere ten minutes ... the sonata is based on expressive melodic materials and on "triadic and augmented harmony".'

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Copyright © 10 February 2008 Anthony Davie, Newcastle UK


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