Louisiana: A Pianist's Journey (new from Cambria)

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Lance
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Louisiana: A Pianist's Journey (new from Cambria)

Post by Lance » Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:12 am

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Cambria 1171, 2 CDs, mid-priced set

DISC 1 [51:05]
•Walter Niemann: Louisiana Suite, Op. 97 [in 5 segments]
•Roy Spaulding Stoughton: Louisiana Nights, Valse Creole *
•John Parsons Beach: NEW Orleans Miniatures [in 6 segments] *
•Ferde Grofé: Mississippi Suite [in 4 segments] *

DISC 2 [54:15]
•Louis Moreau Gottschalk: La Savane, allade Creole, Op. 3
•Cedric Wilmont Lemont: Creole Sketches, Op. 15 [in 9 segments] *
•Albert W. Ketelbey: Sweet Louisiana *
•Virgil Thomson: Suite from "Louisiana Story" [in 3 sections]

* indicates world premiere recording
Kenneth Boulton, piano [Blüthner concert grand]
Cambria 1171, 2 CDS (mid-priced), DDD


Piano collectors will find much to enjoy in this first-class production in a handsome gatefold two-disc set, with a die-cut cover to illustrate a map of Louisiana. Now, when is the last time you held in your hands (or heard) a two-CD set about one of America's 48 contiguous states? Probably never. This is a novel idea this is most effective and an obvious labor of love by pianist Kenneth Boulton, who does a masterful and most effective job not only in his performance of the music in this set, but also in providing the lavish notes.

Among the priceless musical items for me is the inclusion of Virgil Thomson's Louisiana Story Suite, which was transcribed originally by the celebrated Hungarian pianist, Andor Foldes. Here, the three sections comprise the titles 1-Boyou Pastorale; 2-Scherzo with Chorale; 3-The Squeeze-Box. While this is not listed as a world premiere recording, I have not heard this work in solo piano form before. I warmly remember an old American Decca LP conducted (I believe) by Thomas Sherman who played a fabulous orchestral version. While Foldes was an Hungarian, he played much contemporary music and put his best foot forward in transcribing Virgil Thomson's piece.

The music of British-born Albert W. Ketelbey has always had a certain mystique. Mr. Boulton advises that he doesn't believe Ketelbey ever visited the state of Louisiana but was inspired, nonetheless, to write a piece entitled "Sweet Louisiana," as though he knew all about it. Ketelbey's works are always contagious, mostly because of their delectable titles not to mention their unique and often mysterious melodies.

Another great inclusion on this set is Ferde Grofé's Mississippi Suite in another world premiere recording. Here, titles mean a lot, too, for they are most inviting to hear the music: 1-Father of Waters; 2-Huckleberry Finn; 3-Old Creole Days; 4-Mardi Gras. If you have never taken a ride on a steamboat, you will feel like your seeing everything in the presence of Mark Twain himself!

There is so much to enjoy in this outstanding presentation, with Kenneth Boulton displaying a committed and fine pianistic prowess throughout the set. If you love great piano sounds, you will very much enjoy the beautiful qualities of the Blüthner concert grand piano, which has been careflly prepared for the recording, and equally well recorded. No expense was spared in making this unique item available. Highly recommended. ♫
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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ch1525
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Re: Louisiana: A Pianist's Journey (new from Cambria)

Post by ch1525 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 11:00 am

Hey, I know Kenneth Boulton!!!

I actually had a very enjoyable dinner with he and his wife (also a pianist) several years ago. It was a dinner after a Garrick Ohlsson concert at the Ritz-Carlton. I managed to get a free ticket. Had to wear a tuxedo and all! There was assigned seating for the dinner and we were sharing a table with Kenneth and his wife and a couple other people. My friend and I were both studying piano at the time at Tulane. Kenneth took a real interest in us when he found that out. He even gave us his card and tried to recruit us to come study with him at Southeastern University where he teaches!!! We didn't tell our piano professor about that part. Where is the honor amongst piano professors?! :lol:

A few weeks later I was lucky enough to hear he and his wife perform a duo piano concert. Very fine playing. They are very nice people.

I will have to try to get this recording! Thanks for posting about it Lance!

ch1525
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Re: Louisiana: A Pianist's Journey (new from Cambria)

Post by ch1525 » Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:36 pm

I guess nobody here cares about Louisiana inspired piano music Lance. :cry:

Lance
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Re: Louisiana: A Pianist's Journey (new from Cambria)

Post by Lance » Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:26 pm

Yes, it looks that way, Chad. However, this is a stunningly produced two-CD set, and anybody interested in piano music and some of these rare transcriptions would do well to have this compilation in their collections. The production is enormously enlightening and entertaining. Perhaps, outside of Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Louisiana isn't associated with classical piano music. On the other hand, I have very much enjoyed Zydeco music and have seen Queen Ida playing her 31-button accordion a number of times. The washboards they use never need to be tuned! :) Hey Chad, at least YOU AND I know Louisiana-inspired music is great! Have a Happy Turkey Day!
ch1525 wrote:I guess nobody here cares about Louisiana inspired piano music Lance. :cry:
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

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