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Classical Music Review

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American Works for Solo Piano


Composers: Various
Performed by: Minju Choi
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 09 November 2018

Pianist Minju Choi performs the works of three composers on her new Navona Records release, Boundless: American Works for Solo Piano. This LP covers subjects as diverse as love, the transcending of cultural boundaries, and music’s ability to communicate the abstract and indescribable...

Boundless: American Works for Solo Piano opens with the four-part work 'Pulse' by Ching-Chu Hu, a Chinese-American composer who has balanced his Eastern background and traditions with his Western music education.

Gabriela Lena Frank’s four-part 'Sonata Andina', showcases the styles of Peru and Bolivia among other nations. And finally, Philip Lasser's three-part 'Sonata for Piano Les Hiboux Blancs (The White Owls)' takes on a different challenge. The composer, American-born and French-rooted, expressed his view of writing in the abstract language of music - a language communicating that which cannot be expressed in spoken word.

These three very different compositions are beautifully woven together in one seamless recording by Choi. It's pretty obvious, even from the first play through, that the pianist is totally in tune with the original composers. These are either pieces she is totally in love with, or has grown to come to know over quite some time. I could be wrong. She may have never heard the pieces before and has simply rehearsed them a few times before recording them, but I don't think so. There's a fluidity and subtlety from her performance that can only truly come from a real appreciation and admiration of the original subject.

If you are a collector of piano collections then this is certainly one I'd recommend.

Track listing:

Ching-Chu Hu (1969)
01 - Anxious (5:12)
02 - Anticipation (3:11)
03 - Dream (6:34)
04 - Adrenaline (4:14)

Gabriela Lena Frank (1972)
Sonata Andina No. 1
05 - Allegro Aymara (5:45)
06 - Himno Inca (3:40)
07 - Adagio Illariy (6:52)
08 - Finale Saqsampillo (6:41)

Philip Lasser (1963)
Sonata for Piano Les Hiboux Blancs "The White Owls"
09 - Fast (7:32)
10 - Slow (7:09)
11 - Fast, in the style of a toccata (6:08)


Darren Rea

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