American Fantasies

Hasse Borup

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American Fantasies Review

by Mike D. Brownell

Arnold Schoenberg is not typically thought of as an American composer despite having lived, taught, and composed in the United States for almost the last two decades of his life. His impact on American music, however, is most evident in the output of his many students. This album of violinist Hasse Borup and pianist Mary Kathleen Ernst showcases several works by composers who were either Schoenberg's students (John Cage, Leon Kirchner, and Jean Coulthard) or were highly influenced by the creator of the Second Viennese School (Gunther Schuller and Donald Harris). The CD opens with Schoenberg's own Phantasy for Violin with Piano Accompaniment, Op. 47, which was to be one of his last completed works. The rest of the program provides unequivocal evidence of the profound impact Schoenberg's serialism had on the next generation of American composers. Borup's approach to these works is highly appropriate. His tone is clear and understated. His ample technique allows him to land on awkward double-stops or reach uncomfortable shifts without even a hint of difficulty. Ernst's playing is equally unassuming, and the dialogue between the two musicians is seamless. Coupled with a set of well-written, informative liner notes, this album makes a pleasing addition for fans of Schoenberg and his followers.

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