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Sensible Sound, February 2002

"This release has a nice blend, with these Rachmaninov-styled pieces of music. Overall, the sound is quite nice."

Mark Koldys
American Record Guide, June 2001

"Stephen Prutsman, a Tchaikovsky competition finalist in 1990, makes a good impression... Resonant sound and fine orchestral support are further points in the Naxos column."

Robert Moon
Audiophile Audition, May 2001

"The performances on this disc are of the highest level. Avery Fisher Career Grant award winner Steven Prutsman has the chops to meet every virtuosic challenge these two concertos offer - and they are considerable. But his technical ability is always at the service of the music as the cadenza in the first movement of the First Concerto clearly shows. The quieter, more melodic sections are played with the romantic ardor of someone who loves this music. The National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland under opera conductor Arthur Fagen matches Prutsman's performance, balancing drama with lyricism. Audiophiles can rejoice: this is one of Naxos' finest sonic representations: wide soundstage, great balance between piano and orchestra, and believable imaging and transparency. Get this record!"

Richard Ginell
Los Angeles Times, April 2001

"Ever since the unofficial edict that American music ought to sound American, Edward MacDowell has been out of fashion, scorned as too Germanic, too derivative. Yet, Naxos' enterprising American Classics Series cares not what fashion dictates - and at Naxos' super-bargain price, these discs make great entryway into MacDowell's earnestly appealing orchestral music...One can live very nicely with these well played, plushly recorded performances."

Victor Carr, Jr., January 2001

"Edward MacDowell (1860-1908), an exact contemporary of Gustav Mahler, was widely considered the most important American composer of his day-a time when American music was based primarily on European models. Antonin Dvorák called on American composers to turn to indigenous sources, such as Negro spirituals and Indian tribal music, for inspiration. MacDowell flatly rejected this, commenting, "What Negro melodies have to do with Americanism remains a mystery to me." Thus, in the Piano Concerto No. 1 we hear the comfortable old echoes of the Grieg A minor and, in the finale, Dvorák's own concerto. MacDowell's second concerto displays a noticeably higher degree of originality, though here too the European influence is clear, in this case Saint-Saëns. The dark and portentous opening creates a mood of anticipation before the piano enters to launch the drama of the first movement. The finale is brisk and exciting, with some wonderfully bravura piano writing, with which soloist Stephen Prutsman unreservedly flaunts his brilliant technique. He's just as fine in the brief Witches' Dance, which is rather tame and far less spooky than we have come to expect after the likes of Berlioz. The soothing sounds of MacDowell's gentle Romance for Cello and Orchestra close this interesting program. As on many other Naxos recordings, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland (led here by Arthur Fagen) delivers performances of international caliber. Fine sound, too."

Andrew Clarke
, December 2000

"Stephen Prutsman is the soloist in a useful disc from Naxos's American Classics series that highlights the lyrical aspects of America's greatest Romantic composer. [Prutsman] is adept at handling the technical difficulties of the score, and injects a good deal of lyricism into the Second Concerto."

Geoffrey Norris
The Daily Telegraph (Australia), November 2000

"EDWARD MacDowell's name has been kept in the public eye mainly through his charming piano miniature To a Wild Rose, a piece to which most young hands can aspire. But these two concertos are made of much tougher, more flamboyant stuff. MacDowell, musically educated in France and Germany, was a protégé of Liszt, who was responsible for getting the First Concerto published in 1884. Four years later, MacDowell returned to his native America, taking with him a style founded in the Lisztian tradition.

"As a virtuoso performer himself, MacDowell exploited the piano's potential to the full in both concertos, as does Stephen Prutsman in these engaging performances, supported by fine orchestral playing. The concertos are dazzlingly athletic and conceived on a grand scale, but at the same time the performers respond to the warmth generated by MacDowell's winning way with broad, Romantic melody. These characteristics - the dashing and the poetic - are separately and delightfully encapsulated in the two fill-ups, the Witches' Dance for piano and the Romance for cello."

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