ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Piano Dance Ð a 20th Century Portrait
PERFORMER: Gloria Cheng (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CD-80549
A super-enjoyable, toe-tapping disc if ever there was one! Cheng is a marvellous champion of all the hugely varied music on this spiffingly enterprising disc, be it the familiar (Debussy’s Golliwog, Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales) or the little-known (Joan Huang, Donald Davis, Samuel Adler, Miguel del Aguila, etc). A ‘portrait’ of the 20th century in dance, it weaves its terpsichorean way through the work of 23 composers, from Debussy to Aguila (b1957). Almost every track is a delight, delightfully played. William Albright’s Weillian Sleepwalker’s Shuffle is irresistible fun (but why is there nothing from Weill himself?) And I’m sorry, too, to find William Bolcom missing: his delicious The Graceful Ghost would have been a perfect choice (ditto his Sea Biscuits). Ligeti’s Hungarian Rock (originally for harpsichord) demonstrates very entertainingly Cheng’s truly exceptional rhythmical virtuosity, just as Stravinsky’s Tango, Prokofiev’s Rigaudon and Donald R Davis’s Illicit Felicity attest to her sense of humour. Add to all this pieces by Hindemith, Martinu, Bartók, Barber, Scriabin and so on, and you have a cornucopia of pianistic hors d’oeuvres which whets the appetite for still further investigations. Cheng is a winner (no wonder one of her greatest fans is Boulez) and she gets the sound she deserves from the expert engineer. A smashing disc.