Comparisons with the child Mozart are regularly made about Alma Deutscher, the young English composer, pianist, and violinist who emerged on the classical scene in 2013 and performed and recorded several of her works for the Sony label. Yet, as precocious as she is, such hyperbole is perhaps too great a burden to put on any 14-year-old artist, even though she has produced multiple keyboard and chamber works since the age of 4, composed a short opera at 7, and wrote Cinderella, a full-length opera, at 11, showing great promise. Deutscher is gifted, ingenious, and ambitious, and while her style is decidedly influenced by music of the light variety, her lively imagination prevents her pieces from seeming wholly derivative. To be sure, there are echoes of Mozart present, as well as suggestions of Chopin and even Joplin, and many other influences in between, although this is to be expected because Deutscher works within the tradition of Classical and Romantic tonal piano music. Deutscher's 2019 album presents her keyboard music, fleshed-out from her notebook of melodies, where she jots them down as they come to her. She plays with a light touch and graceful execution and seems quite natural at the piano, but her violin playing and compositions for other instruments must wait for another album to show her full range. Even so, this collection of juvenilia will impress many casual classical listeners, though her musical development from here may be even more astonishing if she is given the proper guidance and creative freedom to thrive.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
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