Jenny Lin

The Etudes Project, Vol. 1: Iceberg

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Pianist Jenny Lin teaches a course on the history of the etude at the 92nd Street Y in New York, so presumably after completing volume 1 in her series, she still has more where these came from. It's actually a bit surprising that the venerable etude hasn't received this kind of treatment before; if you're broad about the definition of an etude, the genre goes back to Bach's Clavier-Übung and even before. Lin isn't that comprehensive (at least here), but she does pair standard-repertory etudes by Debussy and Rachmaninov with contemporary works by members of a New York collective called ICEBERG New Music. The pieces turn out to work well together: the dual nature of the etude, as technical study and as program piece, remains the animating feature of the genre. Sample the humorously titled but elegant Piano Etude Book I, "No. 1, Obstinata ("Barbed Wire")" of Harry Stafylakis for an especially effective contemporary treatment of the theme. Lin is already noted for her advocacy of contemporary music, but here she brings a greater historical perspective in an album, and one hopes a series of interest beyond contemporary music circles.

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