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Philip Clark
Gramophone, November 2012

A MAINSTREAM MARVEL. Mayer’s hyper-detailed account is free of dogma and ideological point-scoring. SOme may want an aesthetically edgier view but Mayer’s sincerity is persuasive.

Of the ‘mainstream’ views, Mayer stands out. He is motivated by detail: every reference ot Beethoven’s Fifth is cannily nudged to the surface but without sounding like playing inside inverted commas. © 2012 Gramophone

[The writer—Philip Clark—is comparing 23 versions, from 1943 to 2010. He winds up with Mayer and Philip Mead (on Metier) as the two top picks]

Penguin Guide, January 2009

Alexei Lubimov and Pierre-Laurent Aimard, both also include the Ives’s brief (and optional) obbligatos for viola and flute in the first and fourth movements respectively. Steven Mayer, who omits them, is also remarkably lucid and sympathetic, and he ends the finale most movingly and memorably. As couplings he offers also the tough, though briefly soft-centred, Varied Air and Variations and The Celestial Railroad, a nightmarish, noisy train journey, a trip to a promised land which never materializes. The Emerson Transcription is essentially a reworking of the opening material of the Sonata, and of less general interest.

David Patrick Stearns
The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 2004

"The Mayer recording is also musically excellent and prefaces each of the four movements, which are named for Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and others, with readings that give a context for Ives' understanding of these historic figures and provide an invaluable road map to the music."

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