The American Innovator
This is the latest of Alan Feinberg's American anthologies on Argo, all of which I have enjoyed. The first (2/91) was a rather odd mixture of salon pieces by Beach and Gottschalk with works by Feinberg's teacher, Robert Helps, played with refinement and well recorded. The second, called ''The American Virtuoso'' (5/93), contained more Beach and Gottschalk with some MacDowell and four of Grainger's eccentric transcriptions.
This third release is planned around American pioneers of various kinds and is a most attractive demonstration of Feinberg's versatility. Ornstein's A la chinoise is a more exploratory piece than his opulent, romantic cello sonata (10/93); Cowell's Aeolian Harp, with the piano strings strummed, contains a wrong chord at 1'08''—publishers please note!; Adams's China Gates is poetically repetitive.
The Griffes pieces are stylishly done, but there is a missing left-hand note in The white peacock at 0'10'' which should have been spotted. Feinberg gives us an infectiously rhythmic Bacchanale, Cage's first work for prepared piano; plays with electronic tape in Davidovsky's pretty Synchronism, and presumably copes with both parts in Shapey's less endearing
Thelonious Monk's Ruby my dear slightly lacks tenderness, but Ives's muscle-stretching