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Chamber Music - Released August 5, 2016 | TwoPianists

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Classical - Released November 6, 2015 | TwoPianists

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Chamber Music - Released August 7, 2015 | TwoPianists

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Classical - Released August 7, 2015 | TwoPianists

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Classical - Released June 2, 2015 | TwoPianists

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Chamber Music - Released January 6, 2015 | TwoPianists

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Classical - Released July 1, 2014 | TwoPianists

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released June 12, 2014 | TwoPianists

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Chamber Music - Released November 19, 2013 | TwoPianists

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Classical - Released September 3, 2013 | TwoPianists

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Classical - Released March 26, 2013 | TwoPianists

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Classical - Released March 5, 2013 | TwoPianists

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Classical - Released February 5, 2013 | TwoPianists

This release by the unjustifiably unheralded American pianist Lori Sims, a professor at Western Michigan University, brings together pieces that share two characteristics. First, all but one flirt with serial technique. And second, they start at the level of pianistic showpiece and go up from there. Samuel Barber's Piano Sonata in E flat minor, Op. 26, is one of the most difficult of all works of American piano music, and Sims' competition here comes from the likes of Marc-André Hamelin, John Browning, and the work's first performer, Vladimir Horowitz. It is to her considerable credit that she does not come up short; if the final fugue has a somewhat light touch, the opening Allegro energico has perhaps unparalleled ferocity. The abrupt idiom of Copland's Piano Variations, the young composer's ambitious masterpiece, is precisely rendered; the variations are continuous, but the entire structure, developing from a chromatic cell that clearly bespeaks Copland's acquaintance with serialist currents, emerges clearly in Sims' hands. The other two works might not yet merit the "classics" label, but the Fantasia (Variations), Op. 25, by Ben Weber, the first American serialist, is a neglected work that follows quite closely on Copland's accomplishment. Though delving into serialism, it is strongly Romantic in conception, and Sims switches gears effectively for the less stringent middle of the program, which also includes the Impressionist Roman Sketches, Op. 7, of Charles Tomlinson Griffes. The program as a whole is difficult for the listener as well as for the pianist, but Sims leads her audience through it in a masterful way. She is aided by fine engineering from South Africa's small TwoPianists label; the album was recorded in a university recital hall in South Africa. Support for recitals of this kind has not been abundant in the U.S. or even in Europe, and it is encouraging to see it spring up in a place far from those musical centers. The graphics for the album also merit mention; the close-up, startlingly intimate portraits of the artist suit the material well. © TiVo
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Classical - Released November 6, 2012 | TwoPianists

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Classical - Released November 6, 2012 | TwoPianists

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Classical - Released October 2, 2012 | TwoPianists

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released October 2, 2012 | TwoPianists

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Chamber Music - Released June 5, 2012 | TwoPianists

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Classical - Released May 1, 2012 | TwoPianists

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Classical - Released January 4, 2011 | TwoPianists

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The issue of tempo in Beethoven's music has long been a punching bag of debate among performers and scholars alike. Unlike performers before him, Beethoven had access to a new piece of technology -- the metronome -- for which he was a vehement advocate, even going so far as to suggest that metronome markings should replace the more typical "character markings" found at the beginning of a score. While this was not achieved during Beethoven's lifetime, he still incorporated metronome indications on many of his works. Even with such a concrete indication, much controversy remains as to the accuracy of these markings and the reliability of metronomes in Beethoven's time. None of the sonatas for cello and piano received metronome markings from Beethoven himself, but Carl Czerny -- a noted interpreter of Beethoven's music and fellow advocate for the importance of the composer's metronome markings -- did go back and add tempo indications congruent with other compositions. Cellist Peter Martens and pianist Luis Magalhães use Czerny's tempo indications as well as other interpretive guidelines in this Two Pianists set. The result is, as might be expected, an extremely brisk, vigorous reading of the sonatas. Beethoven and Czerny both made it clear that an artist's technical abilities should have no bearing on tempo; both Martens and Magalhães have the polished chops to pull this off: impeccable intonation and wonderfully crisp articulation. What's frustratingly absent from this otherwise riveting set is an acceptable balance between the piano and the cello. The piano dominates throughout, so much so that the cello is at times entirely inaudible. © TiVo