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  • Foss: Piano Concertos, Elegy for Anne Frank / Nakamatsu, Kasman
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Foss: Piano Concertos, Elegy for Anne Frank / Nakamatsu, Kasman Import

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Audio CD, Import, April 10, 2001
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Product Details

  • Performer: Lukas Foss, Jon Nakamatsu, Yakov Kasman, Carl St. Clair
  • Orchestra: Pacific Symphony
  • Composer: Lukas Foss
  • Audio CD (April 10, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi
  • ASIN: B000059WLA
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #437,609 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Piano Concerto No. 1: Allegro
2. Piano Concerto No. 1: Andante
3. Piano Concerto No. 1: Allegro
4. Piano Concerto No. 2: Allegro sostenuto
5. Piano Concerto No. 2: Adagietto
6. Piano Concerto No. 2: Allegro vivace
7. Elegy for Anne Frank, for orchestra, piano solo & narrator
8. Elegy for Anne Frank, for orchestra, piano solo & narrator

Editorial Reviews

Product Description


Both Foss Piano Concertos were written early in his career, the First under the influence of Hindemith, the Second influenced by Stravinsky. Both pieces are energetic, virtuosic romps, entertaining on a superficial level, but both seem rather synthetic, the product of more thought than feeling. Nakamatsu, a superb musician, plays the First Concerto with perhaps too much artistry, while Kasman is as brash as the Second Concerto he plays. There is more genuine feeling in the six-minute Elegy than in the hour of Piano Concertos. The narration, taken from Anne Frank's Diary and read by the composer's daughter, is touching, but it doesn't connect firmly with the music, so the version without narration seems more of an artistic success. Throughout the disc, the playing of the orchestra (from Orange County, California) is spectacular and the sound quality quite vivid. It's an impressive production (and a very long CD at 77:59), but the overall artistic result is a bit disappointing, except, perhaps, for listeners who get a kick out of hearing fingers move very fast over a keyboard. --Leslie Gerber

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G.D. TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 6, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Although these piano concertos may not be entirely representative of the composer - they are both relatively early works - they are marvelous creations, brimful of ideas and inventive twists and turns. The first concerto was originally composed for clarinet in 1939 (when the composer was seventeen) and reworked for piano in 1943. While not the most original work of its time - Hindemith looms large - it is nevertheless delightful. The first movement is very much reminiscent of Prokofiev's somewhat ambiguously smiling neo-classicism, thematically memorable and exuberant, flowing over with ideas. The slow movement is simply beautiful despite (or because of) its often spicy harmonies. The finale is ebullient, bright and colorful, full of brilliant virtuoso passages; at the time of the culmination one has to conclude that Foss's concerto doesn't contain a single passage that is less than hugely enjoyable and attractive.

The second concerto dates from 1950, and by this time Foss has moved toward a more personal style - indebted to Stravinsky, to be sure, but still recognizable as an individual voice. It is more ambitious than the first concerto, and also more complex, but no less rewarding. The opening movement is dramatic, painted with bold strokes yet full of dazzling virtuoso passages. While the first movement tends toward the romantic, the slow movement is more obviously detached (in the manner of Stravinsky); yet it makes a deep impact, as does the vital, vivacious finale, the most "American"-sounding of the movements. Overall, this is again a superbly engaging work, imaginative, colorful, and memorable.

The performances are scintillating, and both soloists (Jon Nakamatsu in the first, Yakov Kasman in the second) turn in brilliant, even thrilling, handlings of the solo parts.
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