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Baroque Conversations

July 31, 2012

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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: February 10, 2012
  • Release Date: February 10, 2012
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:04:21
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B008ILNJXS
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,823 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Debra Jan Bibel TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 22, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is an original, highly intellectual concept album performed by a superb pianist. Imagine a time machine whose controls are unstable and take the listener on a musical ping-pong voyage from Baroque times to today's avant-garde. David Greilsammer's previous albums toyed with the notion of time juxtapositions, but it reaches proper development here because of his well-considered selections. We are invited to compare the series of pieces and attempt to find accord or argument. Rameau's Gavotte is an elegant, lively, melodic court dance with variations, one of which is slow, quiet, and thoughtful before a noisy galloping variation takes its place. Track 2, Morton Feldman's Piano Piece is a characteristically minimal gossamer, with wide space between notes; it is an echo of Rameau's slow interlude. Soler's brightly decorated Sontata of the High Baroque is the other end to this first sandwich of four. The second is of dance rhythms and begins with Couperin's Mysterious Barracades (itself a mysterious title). Its brief smooth rondo leads to Matan Portat's Whaam! [from Roy Lichenstein's comic book pop painting, presented on the notes and inner case]. This noisy, somewhat percussive, somewhat jazzy, somewhat atmospheric work is followed by a Handel Suite of dances (Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, and Gigue). Sandwich 3 first offers Froberger's very slow, free-metered, polyphonic Tombstone, an unusual exploration of multi-national influences. Its modern counterpart is Nimrod Sahar's On The Reddened Walls, a rubber-eraser (red erasures?) prepared piano composition in the manner of Cage that is likewise free in sound and tempo. Orlando Gibbon's Pavan and Galliard seems far from the liberal whims of its mates, but here their polyphony is the point of comparison.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Keymer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 26, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I didn't think it possible I'd find another piano recital I'd admire as much as I did David Greilsammer's 2007 Fantaisie-fantasme but I have -another album by Greilsammer, this time conceived as a set of conversations between the Baroque age and modernity.

The album is divided into four suites of three pieces each (the Handel Suite in D minor has four movements but totals less than seven minutes), with 17th or 18th-century composers (Rameau, Soler, Couperin, Handel, Froberger, Gibbons, Frescobaldi and Sweelinck) bracketing 20th-century ones (Feldman and new ones to me: Matan Porat, Nimrod Sahar and Helmut Lachenmann). The 20th-century composers are all modernists. The earlier composers fit comfortably under the lush and ornate musical umbrella of the age we call Baroque. The pieces by Porat and Sahar were commissioned for performance by Greilsammer.

At last, a performing artist who programs his recitals as I do CD music mixes! Each piece in this sterling collection plays off of the prior piece and sets off the one to follow, heightening the listener's appreciation of each as he (she) listens. The baroque pieces inhabit a familiar musical idiom so they're easy to place even as you first hear them, but the modern pieces -how they are helped by putting them in a context, even if its opposition to traditional tonalities, techniques, use of rhythm and volume.

The gem of the album is the 4:01 minute "Piano Piece' (1964) of the unjustly neglected American composer Morton Feldman, who absolutely reveled in silence. It is a subtle, soothing, deeply revelatory piece that merits repeated hearings. I'm less certain about Porat's piece but I'm glad I heard it. I will be listening to it many more times to see how it sits with me.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By I. Martinez-Ybor VINE VOICE on April 24, 2012
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David Greilsammer has given us a rare gem of a recording, beautiful and rich indeed, but also most intelligently put together. To begin with the well-known Rameau variations is disarming: he seduces us with the familiar, in thoroughly individual playing, indeed brilliantly played to make us feel comfortable, relaxed, unsuspecting for his first conversation to begin. Morton Feldman does not shock. After the glittering virtuosity of Rameau, his music quietly emerges as a pink cloud floating in some void, out of nowhere, moving at its measured pace (rhythm?). It is enigmatic without raising questions.... it is music that drifts in and out of our consciousness naturally; if there was a statement intended it resides in that drift, as if in conversation things are spoken that were spoken of before, at another time, silences need not be filled for they are understood. Padre Soler, busy prelate that he was, brings this meeting to a lively conclusion.

Couperin and Händel bracket Whaam, a bracing, wonderful new piece, certainly indebted to Roy Lichtenstein in many delightful ways, which provides for an awareness musicians have striven for and Haydn certainly memorialized. Matan Porat's work is impressive and is most welcomed in this context and in any recital stage. I thoroughly enjoyed this piece; it's great fun, and must be fun to play. Greilsammer's Couperin and Händel are elegant and scintillate.

Nimrod Sahar "Aux Murailles Rouges" with its note repetitions, slightly prepared strings, and vaguely threatening atmosphere, is a very companion to the more ancient sounding Froberger and Gibbons (neither made it past the seventeenth century). Somehow all three seem to decry the tenor of their times and have not much faith things will improve.
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