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Ethelbert Nevin

[April 2014.]

What’s wrong? I’m starting to like everything. Perhaps I just like the piano.


Music to Paintings.” Edvard LIEBER: Twenty-four de Kooning Preludes (1978); Small Decoy (1979); Prelude to Jackson Pollock’s “Autumn Rhythm” (1977); Homage to Franz Kline (1977); Sea Wall (1979); Bacchus (1979); Tomb of Hasegawa (1979)*. Edvard Lieber (pno), Shoko Tanaka* (speaker). Labor Records LAB 7020-2 (1 CD) (

Splashing piano miniatures responding to art by de Kooning, Kline, et al. Mostly short tracks, except for the few with electronics. MAYBE.


Georges BIZET: Complete Music for Piano. Julia Severus (pno). Naxos 8.570831-32 (2 CDs) (

Severus splendidly delivers an accomplished Bizet: the virtuosic Variations chromatiques, a few trifles, Nocturnes and concert pieces. YES.


Diabelli Variations.” Var. comps: from 50 Veränderungen über einen Walzer von Anton Diabelli (1824). Ludwig van BEETHOVEN: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120 (1823). Andreas Staier (fortepiano). Harmonia Mundi HMC 902091 (1 CD) (

Staier pulls stops, literally, in these Diabellis on a fortepiano after Graf. Plus others’ variations too, the saddest is Schubert’s. MAYBE.


Voix Voilées: Spectral Piano Music.” Joshua FINEBERG: Tremors (1997); Lightning (1991); Fantastic Zoology (2009); Grisaille (2011); Veils (2001); Till Human Voices Wake Us (1995). Hughes DUFOURT: Erlkönig (2006). Marilyn Nonken (pno). Metier MSV28524 (1 CD) (

Apt preludes to Dufourt’s 30” heady Schubert rumination, Fineberg’s Grisaille and Veils sum up spectral: resonant, sensuously dissonant. YES.


Viktor ULLMANN: Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 10 (1936); Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 19 (1939); Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 26 (1940); Piano Sonata No. 4, Op. 38 (1941); Piano Sonata No. 5, Op. 45 (1943); Piano Sonata No. 6, Op. 49 (1943); Piano Sonata No. 7, Op. 10 (1944); Menuett (Totentanz) (1943). Jeanne Golan (pno). Steinway & Sons 30014 (2 CDs) (

Admire these well-built, elegant sonatas, the last three penned while locked up at Terezin. Ullmann was killed at Auschwitz in 1944. YES.


Piano Phantoms.” Walter NIEMANN: Ghosts: Night on the Fleet (1926). Sergei LYAPUNOV: Round of Phantoms (1905). Edvard GRIEG: The Goblins’ Wedding Procession at Vossevangen (1902-3). Carl TAUSIG: The Ghost Ship (1871?). Nikolai MEDTNER: Wood Goblin (1916). Antonin DVOŘÁK: Goblins’ Dance (1889). Eugène GOOSSENS: A Ghost Story (1918). Carlos TROYER: Ghost Dance of the Zunis (1893). Heino KASKI: Night Music of the Mountain Goblin (1914). John VALLIER: The Ghosts of Restormel (1986). William BOLCOM: Graceful Ghost Rag (1970). Harry FARJEON: Some Goblins and Gnomes and Things (1910). Florence PRICE: The Goblin and the Mosquito (1951). Edgar BAINTON: Goblin Dance (1912). Ferdinand HILLER: The Dance of the Phantoms (1833). Julie RIVÉ-KING: March of the Goblins (1879). Franz SCHUBERT: Spirit Dance (1814; arr. Stephen HELLER). Robert SCHUMANN: Ghost Variations (1854). Michael Lewin (pno). Sono Luminus DSL-92168 (1 CD) (

Background for your next séance. A well-researched collection, including premieres, pyrotechnics and Schumann’s ultimate work. YES.


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