Collection: The American Virtuoso
WORKS: Piano works by Gottschalk, Beach, MacDowell & Gershwin
PERFORMER: Alan Feinberg (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 436121-2 DDD
An attractive collection of lighter piano pieces, perhaps only loosely definable as American but certainly virtuosic. The winsome Mendelssohnian style of Edward MacDowell contrasts with the bouncy Latin Americanisms of Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s party-pieces: his catchy Souvenir de Porto Rico quickly has the toes tapping.
The rather vacuous Corbeille de fleurs belies the much-married Teresa Carreño’s reputation as ‘the Venezuelan spitfire’. Better are the attractive genre pieces of Amy Beach, notably the Brahmsian Scottish Legend and the keyboard-friendly Fireflies. Percy Grainger, an American by choice, finds a place with his captivating transcriptions of songs by Fauré, Gershwin and Dowland, the last an effective new-minted arrangement of ‘Now, O now I needs must part’.
His melting version of the Irish Tune from County Derry ( aka Danny Boy, etc.) may be poised delicately on the brink of slush but never quite teeters over, in Alan Feinberg’s controlled performance.
Throughout he displays considerable dexterity and stylistic insight, if not quite enough personality for material which, while undeniably engaging, is sometimes on the slender side. The sound is clean but lacks depth. George Hall