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MacDowell: Piano Music, Vol. 1

7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 27, 1998
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MacDowell: Piano Music, Vol. 1 + Piano Music 3 + Macdowell: Piano Music, Vol. 2 (American Classics)
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Editorial Reviews

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Many listeners will immediately recognize the opening piece on this disc, To a Wild Rose, one of MacDowell's best inspirations. However, even after a couple of hearings, they'll probably have trouble recognizing the rest of these pieces, none of which has the same kind of inspiration. MacDowell's deeply held belief that American music should copy European models was also his limitation. This music is historically important, but as a listening experience, it has the same effect as second-rate imitations of Grieg's Lyric Pieces. Barbagallo's lovely playing, a fine memorial to this regrettably short-lived artist, makes the music sound better than it really is, and the recorded piano tone is beautiful. --Leslie Gerber


Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
  1. Woodland Sketches, Op. 51: No. 1: To a Wild Rose 1:31$0.89  Buy MP3 
  2. Woodland Sketches, Op. 51: No. 2: Will-o'-the-Wisp 1:28$0.89  Buy MP3 
  3. Woodland Sketches, Op. 51: No. 3: At an Old Trysting Place 1:35$0.89  Buy MP3 
  4. Woodland Sketches, Op. 51: No. 4: In Autumn 1:35$0.89  Buy MP3 
  5. Woodland Sketches, Op. 51: No. 5: From an Indian Lodge 2:08$0.89  Buy MP3 
  6. Woodland Sketches, Op. 51: No. 6: To a Water-lily 2:02$0.89  Buy MP3 
  7. Woodland Sketches, Op. 51: No. 7: From Uncle Remus 1:10$0.89  Buy MP3 
  8. Woodland Sketches, Op. 51: No. 8: A Deserted Farm 2:13$0.89  Buy MP3 
  9. Woodland Sketches, Op. 51: No. 9: By a Meadow Brook 1:11$0.89  Buy MP3 
10. Woodland Sketches, Op. 51: No. 10: Told at Sunset 3:35$0.89  Buy MP3 
11. Sea Pieces, Op. 55: No. 1: To the Sea 1:18$0.89  Buy MP3 
12. Sea Pieces, Op. 55: No. 2: From a Wandering Iceberg 1:21$0.89  Buy MP3 
13. Sea Pieces, Op. 55: No. 3: A.D. Mdcxx 1:57$0.89  Buy MP3 
14. Sea Pieces, Op. 55: No. 4: Starlight 1:41$0.89  Buy MP3 
15. Sea Pieces, Op. 55: No. 5: Song 1:56$0.89  Buy MP3 
16. Sea Pieces, Op. 55: No. 6: From the Depths 2:10$0.89  Buy MP3 
17. Sea Pieces, Op. 55: No. 7: Nautilus 2:19$0.89  Buy MP3 
18. Sea Pieces, Op. 55: No. 8: In Mid-ocean 1:53$0.89  Buy MP3 
19. Fireside Tales, Op. 61: No. 1: An Old Love Story 2:02$0.89  Buy MP3 
20. Fireside Tales, Op. 61: No. 2: Of Br'er Rabbit 1:42$0.89  Buy MP3 
21. Fireside Tales, Op. 61: No. 3: From a German Forest 2:29$0.89  Buy MP3 
22. Fireside Tales, Op. 61: No. 4: Of Salamanders 2:20$0.89  Buy MP3 
23. Fireside Tales, Op. 61: No. 5: A Haunted House 2:38$0.89  Buy MP3 
24. Fireside Tales, Op. 61: No. 6: By Smouldering Embers 1:46$0.89  Buy MP3 
25. New England Idyls, Op. 62: No. 1: An Old Garden 1:40$0.89  Buy MP3 
26. New England Idyls, Op. 62: No. 2: Mid-summer 1:22$0.89  Buy MP3 
27. New England Idyls, Op. 62: No. 3: Mid-winter 2:41$0.89  Buy MP3 
28. New England Idyls, Op. 62: No. 4: With Sweet Lavender 1:43$0.89  Buy MP3 
29. New England Idyls, Op. 62: No. 5: In Deep Woods 1:28$0.89  Buy MP3 
30. New England Idyls, Op. 62: No. 6: Indian Idyl 1:37$0.89  Buy MP3 
31. New England Idyls, Op. 62: No. 7: To an Old White Pine 1:18$0.89  Buy MP3 
32. New England Idyls, Op. 62: No. 8: From Puritan Days 1:15$0.89  Buy MP3 
33. New England Idyls, Op. 62: No. 9: From a Log Cabin 1:58$0.89  Buy MP3 
34. New England Idyls, Op. 62: No. 10: The Joy of Autumn 2:36$0.89  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 27, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos American Classics
  • ASIN: B00000DHTE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,486 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Melvyn M. Sobel on July 25, 2000
Format: Audio CD
A master of the piano vignette, as these pieces aptly and beautifully illustrate, MacDowell (1860-1908) remains, for the most part, remembered solely as the composer of "To A Wild Rose," the first piece in his collection of Woodland Sketches, Op. 51, incomprehensible as it may seem.

MacDowell is a bit of a paradox. Musically schooled in Europe, admired by Liszt, taught by Raff, and having his own viewpoints about composition, nobody typifies, personifies or exemplifies what one might call the "New England School" like MacDowell does. He's rather the Thoreau of New England music, actually, and especially the piano vignette, of which he is a master.

Just look at the titles: Woodland Sketches, Fireside Tales, New England Idyls, Sea Pieces. For me, this music is New England. There's more nostalgia in these four sets than you can shake a stick at! But, you know, in this case, more is better, not less. This music has no whiff of the salon; it's of a particular place in America that calls to our very roots. It has a feel that cannot be accurately described. A mood. An ambience that resonates to the bottom of our consciousness. We become immersed in a dreamy reverie of our collected experiences, nostalgic yearnings, of people, places and things that have gone before... and are no longer. It's that kind of music.

It reminds me of my childhood, of late Autumn days, the smell of burning leaves as Halloween crept nearer, of rainy days, of places lost and found and lost again, walks on the beach at sunset, quiet evenings watching the embers fade in the fireplace, of first loves gone, of lighthouses... of sweet and bittersweet melancholy. That kind of music. The kind of music that one "knows" without ever having heard before, innate within us all, and reaching down to our very fiber. And that is the wonder, beauty and profundity of MacDowell.

[Running time: 63:49]
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard L. Kendrick on November 3, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I had a gift certificate and as always, in addition to getting books, I throw in a CD of instrumental music. I played a couple of the easier McDowell pieces and fell in love with these wonderful pieces. It is a sad story that McDowell died young as well as the talented pianist on this recording. I enjoyed it so much that I traveled 150 miles to Pittsburgh recently to buy the sheet music to a part of this so that I can add these to my repertoir.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By G.D. VINE VOICE on February 4, 2010
Format: Audio CD
There is certainly much to enjoy in the late Barbagallo's sensitive and committed series of MacDowell's piano music, but the musical content is of variable quality - very often charming and atmospheric, sometimes imaginative, but sometimes also rather trite and empty; and in a series like this we will inevitably run into music that is hardly worth the effort. None of the music is very individual - Liszt, Chopin, Schumann and Grieg are very prominent influences - but there are some inventive textures and colors in some of the music; simple charms, but quite effective at times.

In fact, the volume at hand is in many ways a good place to start; the works featured are often warm and charming, although MacDowell avoids the drama one can find in his sonatas - here we have 34 innocent, unassuming character pieces, almost all of them very brief and perhaps too much gentle romance to take in one go, but variegated and inventive enough to sustain the listener's interest. The best is perhaps found in the dreamily atmospheric Woodland Sketches (although the New England Idylls display just a tad more nuances and shadings than the rest), works that would, I imagine, grace any recital - perhaps filled out with selections from the slightly more craggy and chilly Sea Pieces. In any case, they are all very sensitively handled by Barbagallo, who plays them with commitment and as much panache as they can take. In sum, this is a rather rewarding disc of charming, evocative miniatures which would appeal to those who appreciate Grieg's Lyric pieces (though MacDowell's are not anywhere near as inventive, variegated and memorable as these), and they are well worth your time.
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Format: Audio CD
Moving quickly past the banal toxicity of "To a wild rose," the WOODLAND SKETCHES offer considerable variety in an all-American (but Continent-trained) way and, like all four neglected works here, demand interpretation as complete but short cycles. (The best way to enjoy this disc is to audition each opus set individually, then run to the piano for a rewarding sightread, then move on to the next set--this absolutely beats traumatizing forced repeats of the wild-rose salon encore, and your estimation of MacDowell the piano composer will rise even as you may differ with Barbagallo's Boomer piano style.) The NEW ENGLAND IDYLS are an especially lyrical extension (check out the advanced harmonies of "Mid-summer") of the forest morceaux (both scores are quick sightreads, lying very naturally for the paws and beautifully exploiting the king of instruments' most expressive registers). MacDowell tailored both cycles for the American-trained home pianist maximizing an investment in an upscale Chickering or Baldwin instrument, and these lovely bucolic cycles ought not be confused with formal concert repertoire.

You may, however, give the home Steinway a good workout with the somewhat more ambitious SEA PIECES and the nostalgic FIRESIDE TALES. Both cycles particularly exemplify the Boston school of pianism, tentatively posited by MacDowell and elaborated in a big way by Charles Ives. These cycles are for the advanced amateur executant, and their habitual absence from the American concert platform is disgraceful. Barbagallo's Vol. 1 (he completed four volumes of a projected nine-CD set before he passed away in 1996) is the best in the series, fully representing his California Boomer (b. 1952) technique (brisk tempi prevail) and MacDowell's most accessible keyboard suites.
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