Orion Weiss


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The pieces on this album by American pianist Orion Weiss were all written in the early 1910s. Certainly it seemed to some at that time that the world was drifting toward war, but whether the three works here could all be said to have been motivated by that feeling is uncertain. Fortunately, though, they hang together nicely without that conceit. Each work embodies musical systems flying apart, and they do so without participating in some kind of inevitable march toward atonality. They cross borders in an unusual way -- Spanish, Czech, Russian -- and the Goyescas of Enrique Granados especially benefit from this new context. Sample El Amor y la Muerte, which has an unusual degree of freedom here, but the entire set is subtly and evocatively played. Janacek's In the Mists has a notable level of gloom, and in fact, Scriabin's Piano Sonata No. 9, Op. 68 ("Black Mass"), seems a bit understated here, perhaps because of the intensity that has preceded it. This album, apparently self-released (it was recorded in 2014 but did not appear until 2018), is an original conception by a rising young American pianist, solidly executed.

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