Four Piano Blues - Piano Works by Copland & Gershwin
Mark Anderson brings a compelling grandeur and eloquent fervour to Copland’s imposing Sonata of 1939-41 (apparently Leonard Bernstein’s favourite work), achieving a splendid concentration and unforced gravitas in the riveting concluding Andante sostenuto in particular. In the frustrating continuing absence of Peter Lawson’s Virgin Classics account (5/91), this must now assume top-ranking status. The Sonata is preceded by an extremely touching performance of Copland’s Four Piano Blues (completed in 1948, but spanning some 22 years), and Anderson rounds off his recital with the same composer’s mischievous ‘Scherzo humoristique’ entitled The Cat and the Mouse (his first published work, dating from 1920).
As for the Gershwin items, the gorgeous centre-piece of the Three Preludes has just the right blend of seductive glow and soulful languor, while the ten song arrangements published under the title of ‘Broadway Showstoppers’ make a delicious sequence (I particularly liked Anderson’s
There is rather more than a hint of strain in any heftier tuttis throughout; otherwise, the sound is eminently truthful and the audience impeccably behaved (and, I should add, rightly appreciative).'