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Nielsen & Ives

Carl Nielsen: Suite, Op. 45 (1919)
Charles Ives: First Sonata (ca. 1902-1910)
John McDonald: Meditation Before A Sonata: Dew Cloth, Dream Drapery, Op. 406 (2003)

Andrew Rangell, piano

BRIDGE 9295 [2009; 69 mins]

A short welcome for an inspired juxtaposition of two key works of the 20th C, perfectly achieved in performance and ideally recorded. It is a scandal that neither of these masterly works is to be heard in our concert halls.

It is only special repertoire, and good programming of it, that can hope to gain the attention of reviewers and purchasers given the flood of recordings, many of whose best hopes is for a few sales after the performers' gigs - sorry, recitals...

The Nielsen has long been a favourite of mine, since included in an Ogdon LP box. And Ives' haunting No 1, amazingly forward-looking for a century ago, has long been overshadowed by the Concord. They are nicely separated by the harmonically rich and evocative Ives-prompted Meditation of John McDonald, a professor at Tufts University who likes to think of himself as a composer who tries to play the piano and a pianist who tries to composer. With Rangell as his advocate, it appears he succeeds in both !

A word about the mono-lingual presentation in large blackon-white print; a boon to English speaking readers whose failing eyesight makes so many liner notes uncomfortable or impossible to read...

This release whets the appetite to explore Andrew Rangell's other recordings.

Peter Grahame Woolf