Emily Bear

The Love in Us

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Even by the time she had reached the age of six, it had already become difficult to sort out the fact from the mythology concerning pianist and composer Emily Bear. She was born in 2001, and by some accounts she began studying piano at the age of two, after her parents took her to a professional pianist who was astonished at her abilities. The program notes for her second CD, The Love In Us, recorded when she was six, assert that she only began playing the piano when she was five. In either case, her proficiency as a performer and her fluency as a composer command attention. It's not necessary to make extravagant claims for her originality to recognize the persuasiveness of her musicianship. Bear's harmonic language is the most conventional aspect of her music, and it's often melodically predictable, but she throws in enough unexpected turns to keep the listener engaged. Gesturally, her pieces have some surprising juxtapositions, some of which call Piazzolla to mind. And she is certainly not a one-work composer; the 10 pieces collected here have a refreshing variety of moods and styles. Her playing has a solidity and assurance and gravity that are unexpected coming from a pianist of her age. (She's not limited to playing her own music; her website notes her upcoming performance of a Mozart piano concerto.) The sound of the recording is basically good, but tends to be a little bright and brittle.

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