Cadman

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Cadman
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Piano Trio in D; Violin Sonata in G; Piano Quintet in G minor; The Legend of the Canyon; From the Land of the Sky-Blue Water
PERFORMER: Paul Posnak (piano), Peter Zazofsky (violin), Ross Harbaugh (cello); Bergonzi String Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: 8.559067
Naxos’s apparently indefatigable ‘American Classics’ project has turned up yet another minor but

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not uninteresting figure. Charles Wakefield Cadman (1881-1946) was well known in the 1910s and Twenties for what he called his ‘idealised Indian music’, and for his lecture tours with a native American mezzo-soprano, Princess Tsianina Redfeather. Unfortunately, the disc reflects this phase of Cadman’s career only in two violin-and-piano miniatures, The Legend of the Canyon and a transcription of the song ‘From the Land of the Sky-Blue Water’ – both salon pieces of great charm. For the rest, there are three substantial chamber works in which a Romantic language inherited from Brahms, Dvorák and Franck is updated only by superficial garnishes, such as the ragtime rhythms in the finale of the 1914 Piano Trio, or the ‘naughty’ final added-sixth chord of the 1930 Violin Sonata. The American performers, led by the excellent pianist Paul Osnak, do their best with Cadman’s thick textures and sprawling slow movements. But surely, a single disc devoted to the ‘Indianist movement’, led by the adventurous Arthur Farwell, would have been of wider interest and appeal? Anthony Burton