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works of Charles Ives, Zimmermann, Finnissy, Tenney, Corbett, Schneller

Charles Ives (1874-1954) - London Bridge Is Fallen Down! (Burlesque Harmonization) FIRST RECORDING - Study No. 21: Some Southpaw Pitching! - Study No. 9: The Anti-Abolitionist Riots in the 1830's and 1840's - Set of Five Take-Offs - From Four Transcriptions from "Emerson":
ii. Moderato; iii. Largo

Walter Zimmermann
(b.1949) - the missing nail at the river for piano & toy piano
Michael Finnissy (b.1946) - Song of Myself
James Tenney (1934-2006) - Essay (after a sonata) for inside-piano
Sidney Corbett
(b.1960) - The Celestial Potato Fields (in memoriam Charles Ives)
Oliver Schneller (b.1966) - “And tomorrow…” for piano and electronics

Heather O’Donnell, piano
mode 211

Here is some little known piano music of Charles Ives, a valuable addition to the Ives discography, including an amusing little piece never before recorded, London Bridge Is Fallen Down! But the unique interest of this compilation is a selection of commissions by Heather O’Donnell from fellow-spirits, contemporary composers for whom Charles Ives has been important. Each of these is interesting and has its own individuality.

Detailed descriptions can be found in O'Donnell's own words in the liner notes which are on-line in full at http://writings.heatherodonnell.info/Responses.htm and better read there than in my paraphrasing. She can be seen playing to exciting visuals in Oliver Schneller's Track & Field on Piano optophonique project.

This RESPONSES TO IVES project, conceived to mark the 50th aniversary of the composer's death in 1954, had occupied Heather O'Donnell through most of the present decade and the outcome is a credit to all concerned.

The recording at Deutschlandfunk, Cologne is vivid, Heather O'Donnell's playing is impeccable and her own liner notes veritable literature. Brian Brandt's art direction is how these things should be done, though I am a little puzzled by the choice of cover image?

Heather O'Donnell herself has been featured in Seen&Heard and Musical Pointers since we covered the Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition 2001 at Rotterdam, where we wrote: - - Heather O'Donnell, who gave the best performance we heard of Jonathan Harvey's popular Tombeau for Messiaen for piano with tape - - concluded with as fine an account of one of the most modern of 20th C. piano works (Ives' Hawthorne of 1912 !) as you are likely to be lucky enough to encounter.

She has provided us with a review of Philip Mead's recordings of the Ives sonatas etc [Metier MSV 92037], an article about the Concord Sonata, and a frank account of medical difficulties which dogged her latter years; - - pianists don't wear their injuries on their sleeves...

Peter Grahame Woolf