American Piano Classics
After a miserable evening listening to below-par performances of much-recorded repertoire this came as a real tonic—by no standards could this programme be called 'much-recorded', and the playing is distinctly above-par.
The sequence of works is effective in itself, five chunks of Ives surrounding Copland's Piano Variations, with pieces in 'popular' idioms setting off those meatier items. I am not qualified to pronounce on the faithfulness of Joanna MacGregor's Garner and Monk transcriptions, but they seem thoroughly stylish and
Copland's 12-note-without-tears Variationsare played with a strong sense of atmosphere and a good ear for texture, although the later variations show up some limitations at the virtuoso end of things and No. 6 is rhythmically awry. The last page of Ives's ''Alcotts'' is not too happy either, but the homespun lyricism of the movement is well conveyed and MacGregor sets exactly the right mystical tone for
First-rate piano sound and a warm-toned instrument, never pushed beyond its limits—all in all an extremely enjoyable issue.'