Music in the American Grain
- CDR 90000 010
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Pianist Ramon Salvatore, a champion of American music, harvests a program of attractive, distinctive yet neglected works by four prominent, living composers on his first recording for Cedille Records.
The disc offers debut recordings of Robert Palmer's neoclassically seasoned Third Sonata (dedicated to Salvatore) and Paul Bowles' evocative Carretera de Estepona. Other works include Bowles' Six Latin American Pieces, John LaMontaine's dramatic Piano Sonata, Op. 3, and Hunter Johnson's Piano Sonata, which The New York Times described as "an engrossing combination of Hindemith-like counterpoint and American blues."
The composers, who received advance copies of the recording, praise it robustly. Palmer notes "a clarity and understanding of every part of the work that is truly outstanding." He describes Salvatore as a "superb musician" and likens him to the late John Kirkpatrick for his dedication to popularizing neglected American masterpieces.
Bowles calls the recording of his pieces "the best I had heard." Johnson declares the recording of his Sonata "a knockout in every respect. I would call it definitive -- everything exactly right -- one by which to measure all other performances of it." To LaMontaine, it's "nothing less than stupendous."
Salvatore's interest in American music extends back into the 19th century, but he devotes this recording to "a lost generation of works" by American composers whose personal styles blossomed in the 1930s and 1940s -- styles marked by new harmonies and rhythms an ocean apart from European influences that once dominated American music.