WSU piano faculty members Jeffrey and Karen Savage are the formidable pianists of 88 Squared, a critically acclaimed piano duo. This remarkable recording of Liebermann’s music for two pianos will only add to their international reputation. Liebermann’s piano music requires keen attention to color, texture, balance, and lyricism. His ample use of counterpoint requires absolute precision between the four hands.
From the first quietly unsettling notes of Susan Chan’s East West Encounter, it’s clear that this is no ordinary piano CD. A delicate initial passage suddenly explodes into a dramatic and resonant section of lower keys; two contemporary pieces rooted in Chinese literature are an intriguing lead-in to Beethoven’s Sonata in E minor, op. 90 and Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No. 1. That the structure and sound of music can operate as a sort of narrative language is quite evident here. These are selections that evoke the implacability of landscape, the sweet sharp pain of spiritual longing, and the heady delirium of early love.
In one of my first musical memories, I am sitting with my grandfather at his player-piano, watching the punched rolls spin as we listen to the popular music of his youth. As a young child, I hadn’t yet developed a curiosity for the vast wealth and breadth of the piano literature. Hearing Louisiana—A Pianist’s Journey has given me a chance to revisit this type of music through a unique collection of works. Kenneth Boulton’s recording and the accompanying booklet effectively encapsulate Louisiana’s rich cultural history and transport the listener to a graceful era in American music.
This innovative two-CD set presents works by both American … » More …