Colin Clarke

Great American Sonatas

8:00, 14th December 2017

Bernstein Piano Sonata, Copland Piano Sonata (1939-41), Harrison Piano Sonata No 3, Ives Three-page Sonata
Nathan Williamson (pf)
Somm SOMMCD 0163 – CD

This superb recital shines like a beacon, illuminating the differing styles of Copland, Bernstein, Lou Harrison and Ives.

If Gershwin is the voice of urban America, then Copland is the voice of rural America, of vast open spaces and the great outdoors. Here severity and economy alternate with hyper-activity in one of Copland’s supreme masterpieces. Bernstein’s sonata is less ambitious yet his rarified idiom repays frequent listening.

Lou Harrison’s studies with Schoenberg, Henry Cowell and John Cage are subsumed in a more refined style, while Ives’ instantly recognisable style derives from an endearing desire ‘to knock the mollycoddles out of their boxes and to kick out the softy ears’.

All these works are given by Nathan Williamson with unerring mastery. Finely recorded, few more impressive discs of American piano music exist.

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