Carter Brey / Jeremy Denk / Ani Kavafian / Garrick Ohlsson

Justin Dello Joio: Two Concert Etudes; Sonata for Piano; Music for Piano Trio and others

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Composer Justin Dello Joio is the seventh generation of composers in his family, and this recording of his works is sure to bring pride to his family name. Every aspect of this album is well thought out, from his intellectual and structured approach to composition, his wise selection of musicians chosen to premiere his works, to the insightful and informative liner notes written by the composer. The album opens with two concert etudes, which, though monstrously difficult from a technical aspect, are still filled with clear musical and emotional ideas. Pianist Garrick Ohlsson, who's received some positive attention for his cycle of the complete Beethoven sonatas, demonstrates just how versatile a musician he is. Ohlsson handles the technical demands of the two etudes with ease; his playing is sublimely lucid and powerful. We hear this again in the Sonata for Piano, where Ohlsson's masterful performance clearly delineates the structural aspects of the music without compromising its emotional content. Dello Joio's Music for Piano Trio "The March of Folly" again brings together an all-star cast of musicians -- Ani Kavafian, Carter Brey, and Jeremy Denk. The Trio is based on the book of the same name by Barbara Tuchman and refers to mankind's propensity to repeat its own mistakes time and time again ending in the "cataclysm" heard at the end of the third movement. The fourth-movement epilogue is a prayer for Dello Joio's daughter Chiara, that she and her generation not be doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past yet again. From smart, enjoyable compositions, informative notes, and first-rate performances, this is definitely an album to be added to any collection.

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