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Classical - Released August 10, 2018 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Grammy Awards
JoAnn Falletta's fifth Naxos album introducing the music of American composer Kenneth Fuchs consists of three concertos and a song cycle, showing aspects of his work in contrast with the previous orchestral releases. Where Fuchs has capitalized on vernacular style in his American Rhapsody, Discover the Wild, An American Place, and Quiet in the Land, this program is somewhat more abstract in concept and mostly focused on virtuosity in its own right, instead of evoking mid-20th century Americana. To be sure, the rural lyricism and rugged rhythms of Copland are never far from Fuchs' imagination, but the focus is on abstract art in the Piano Concerto, "Spiritualist" (after three paintings by Helen Frankenthaler), or more general imagery, such as Glacier (concerto for electric guitar and orchestra), and Rush (concerto for alto saxophone and orchestra), all of which explore the technical possibilities of their solo instruments, set against colorful orchestral accompaniment. Even the Poems of Life (twelve poems by Judith G. Wolf for countertenor and orchestra) diverges from Fuchs' populism and ventures into more personal and intimate subjects, far removed from the public essays that have won him his largest following. In any case, the patriotic touches that have made Fuchs' music popular with concert audiences are kept to a minimum, and the exciting performances by pianist Jeffrey Biegel, countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, guitarist D.J. Sparr, and alto saxophonist Timothy McAllister, supported by Falletta and the London Symphony Orchestra, will go far in bringing new listeners to this series. © TiVo
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Classical - Released March 14, 2002 | Naxos

Booklet
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Classical - Released September 27, 2011 | Steinway and Sons

Booklet
This modest disc of Christmas music from Steinway is meant to be purchased physically, although it is also available digitally. It comes packaged with an ornament, a miniature version of the Steinway lyre emblem that is gilded on each of the company's pianos. However, the music is something that should appeal to fans of Steinways who also enjoy Christmas music. Jeffrey Biegel is an ideal pianist for this project and represents Steinway and its instruments well. He is primarily a classical artist, but here proves he can play with equal musicality and charm in many different styles. On the opening track, arranger Andrew Gentile gives Sleighride ragtime and Gershwin-esque embellishments, a welcomed, refreshing refit of a work that's become something of a cliché. The arrangements of Silent Night, Christmas Lullaby, Grown-Up Christmas List, and Auld Lang Syne represent a smooth, piano jazz-style of performance. Christmas Is A-Comin' also begins that way, but halfway through turns into an animated stride version. For the more classically oriented, there are straight up works by Franz Liszt, Max Reger, Vladimir Rebikov, and Sergey Lyapunov, plus excerpts from the Nutcracker that lose none of their appeal in the piano transcription under Biegel's hands. There are also pieces that mix it up a little. The arrangements by Carolyne M. Taylor (whom Biegel has recorded previously) combine well-loved Christmas melodies with classical pieces. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing is a brief set of variations in the style of Beethoven. Fans who like only particular styles of piano playing may prefer to pick and choose their tracks, but fans of Steinway shouldn't be disappointed to get the entire package. © Patsy Morita /TiVo
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Classical - Released September 28, 2010 | Naxos

Booklet
Much-honored American composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich has managed to satisfy both specialist audiences and general concertgoers over her career, often writing works that develop accessible material in a rigorous way. This disc collects three Zwilich works for piano and orchestra, and the interest begins with the fact that none of them can really be described as a piano concerto. Instead, the piano-orchestra dialogue is mapped onto other content, programmatic in two cases. The nonprogrammatic piece is the Millennium Fantasy, based on an unidentified folk song that Zwilich learned from a family member; it appears fragmentarily throughout and is assembled at the end of the two-movement work. Images (1986) consists of short movements depicting paintings in the collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, along with one expressing Zwilich's reaction to the museum as a whole; many listeners will be hard pressed to catch the representational language here. Not so with the final work, Peanuts Gallery, composed in 1996 and apparently part of a mutual homage with cartoonist Charles Schulz, who mentioned Zwilich in several strips. Each movement depicts one of the strip's familiar characters, and U.S. listeners, at least, will have no trouble picking these out. Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 29 in B flat major, Op. 106, "Hammerklavier," is quoted in the opening movement, "Schroeder's Beethoven Fantasy," and recurs later in the work. This work would be ideal for programs aimed at young listeners (who still remember Peanuts, long after Schulz's death), and it's both light and very artfully done. The album benefits from the presence of pianist Jeffrey Biegel, who has a lot of experience with Zwilich's works, and the enthusiastic Florida State University Symphony Orchestra under Alexander Jiménez. Some might criticize Naxos for using presumably low-cost university orchestras, but the fact is that young musicians who become involved in worthwhile projects of lasting value will go on to create prosperous musical economies of their own. A good place to start with Naxos' American Classics series. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 28, 2010 | Steinway and Sons

Booklet
It's hard to tell what you're getting in this release from the front cover, which proclaims "J.S. Bach Played in a 17th Century Style," or from the back cover, which informs the buyer that "Jeffrey Biegel adopts the performance practice of Bach's time." Neither of these is possible with the proffered Steinway piano, and the relevance of the 17th century, at whose end Bach was 15, is entirely unclear. The album marks the debut of a new series issued by the venerable Steinway & Sons piano maker itself, and they need help in the editorial department. What you do get is a performance of Bach on a modern grand, along the general lines of those by Murray Perahia and the other concert pianists who have insisted on the grand piano's relevance for Bach, with the added ingredient of what Biegel, in the interview-format notes (in English only) calls "improvisation" but is actually the liberal application of added ornamentation in a Baroque performance practice, to be sure, but here apparently not one borne of long study of the source materials. With all this in mind, Biegel's performances are strong ones. On the ornamentation from light, occasional variation of consequent phrases to using the printed work merely as a stimulus to further creative activity, he falls near the middle; he applies ornamentation throughout most of the movements, but less heavily in fully polyphonic contexts than in others, and he has a knack for maintaining the basic feel and contour of a line even while adding a good many notes to it. His playing in general is certainly pianistic, but there's nothing here to shock anyone who's experienced the likes of Glenn Gould, and he doesn't turn Bach into a Romantic like the pianists of the Russian school. The listener may be likelier to complain about Biegel's phrasing and articulation than about the ornaments; he adds odd attacks to certain lines (try out the Bourée from the French Suite No. 5 in G major, BWV 816, for an example) that work at cross-purposes with the basic symmetries of the music. Steinway's money went into engineering, and into the tonally lush piano Biegel plays, rather than into editorial help, and the recording will be appreciated by audiophiles with good equipment. An offbeat release that whets the appetite for further outings from the company that pioneered so many aspects of American retailing. © TiVo
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Classical - Released October 23, 2015 | eOne Music

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Classical - Released November 3, 1993 | Marco-Polo

Booklet
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Classical - Released June 30, 2009 | Naxos

Booklet
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Classical - Released May 7, 2013 | Steinway and Sons

The title A Grand Romance and the statement in the notes that "[t]his recording celebrates the intimacy of the relationship between pianist and public" during the Romantic era both make this recording sound more general than it actually is. What you have here is a collection of pieces generally played as encores. There are a few difficult technical details, but for the most part the mood is lyrical and the mode of expression concise. A program of 16 of these might seem excessive, but the program is chosen intelligently by American pianist Jeffrey Biegel, and the listener's interest doesn't flag. All the music, except for the Causerie of César Cui, was written by pianist/composers, a genre of musician that has almost disappeared, and indeed many of these composers -- Sergei Eduardovich Bortkiewicz, Paul de Schlözer, Giovanni Sgambati, and others -- have been pretty much forgotten. Some of the works are delightfully pictorial, such as Moritz Moszkowski's The Girl Juggler (or, as the track list inelegantly has it, The Juggleress); others are dances or etudes or little droplets of sheer sentiment. The most virtuosic work is the set of Arabesques on "The Blue Danube" by Andolf Schulz-Evler, and Biegel is not seriously challenged by it, although you could wish for more schmaltz in places here. Recommended, especially for piano recitalists themselves. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2016 | Naxos

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Classical - Released May 10, 2019 | Naturally Sharp

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Classical - Released June 1, 2019 | Naturally Sharp

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Classical - Released August 1, 2006 | Turmic Records

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Christmas Music - Released October 23, 2007 | eOne Music International Classics

Though pianist Jeffrey Biegel's name is above the title in Koch's Classical Carols, arranger Carolyne M. Taylor is the responsible party for arranging 21 Christmas carols in the style of 21 other classical composers, utilizing, in many cases, their most familiar works. Biegel had recorded Taylor's arrangements before for the PianoDisc, a digitized, playerless grand piano that one may have encountered in department stores, shopping malls, and hotels, and convinced Koch to record a similar program for buyers of ordinary audio CDs. This is the same concept that propelled Delos' popular Heigh-Ho! Mozart, a disc of popular Disney melodies arranged in the manner of well-known classical composers, a practice that Krzysztof Penderecki has called "living in the style of another." At the outset, it should be said that for non-specialist consumers looking for a stylish and distinctive CD of Christmas carols that has a warm, cozy, Christmas-y feeling, then Koch's Classical Carols might well be perfectly fine. This is as long as one has no more than a glancing familiarity with classical music itself and is not offended by instances where a transformative treatment -- short of the violent lampoons of Spike Jones, whose irreverence is often their best defense -- is taken to something that is familiar and, in some cases, revered. That said, for those who do reserve for works like Debussy's Clair de lune a special privilege, then Taylor's transformations are not going to seem "transformative" enough. Taylor's trope of "Silent Night" into the sound of Debussy is flanked by the opening and closing sections of the original, which, apart from some measure of facilitation for ease of playing, appears practically unchanged. This is Taylor's modus operandi for the balance of the disc, or at least it seems to be as far as one can stand to make it through. It is as though the mother bird has not chewed up the worm enough for her young, leaving them to choke on the "bleeding chunks"; listeners deep into classical music will find it similarly unpalatable. This is not a charge that can be leveled against Heigh-Ho! Mozart, which took the time to fully digest the style of the composer in question before applying it to the Disney version. Listeners located in the middle of the equation, being neither expert nor wholly out of sorts with classical music, might feel that Classical Carols sounds a little too much like a piano in a shopping mall. © TiVo