Of all the composers out there who we'd like to call greats but are hanging in limbo a bit because they are still tough nuts to crack interpretively, Ives is the King. As with other major yet complex composers before him--Berlioz immediately comes to mind and then there's late Beethoven, of course--if the music isn't played and heard exactly right, accusations of incompetence, amateurishness, and even feeble-mindedness run rampant. Even people who should know better like Bernstein said dumb things about the..
This CD contains probably the two greatest piano sonatas composed by Americans. Some might disagree, but few will disagree that they are great, if not at the very top of any list. See As to the Ives, frankly, I agree with Lawrence Gilman's reaction when he heard the première by John Kirkpatrick of the 'Concord' Sonata in 1938: 'This sonata is exceptionally great music--it is, indeed, the greatest music composed by an American, and the most deeply and essentially American in impulse and implication.' I can..
No offense whatsoever to the other reviewers - I found the Alcotts movement of the Concord sonata fun to play and to work on for a short time, but the work still eludes me, so I'm not even going to attempt to evaluate Hamelin's performance of the Ives. However, I adore the Barber sonata, and so when I saw this CD on the shelf, I thought, how can I lose? Hamelin has a surplus of technique for a moderately taxing piece like this, and I felt he would surely have more fun with it than Horowitz did. It was wi..