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Penguin Guide, January 2009

It is Naxos who have had the happy idea of coupling Amy Beach’s attractive Piano Concerto with the equally diverting Gaelic Symphony, which was written in 1894-6 after she had been impressed with the Boston première of Dvoƙák’s New World Symphony and determined to build her own symphony by drawing on four traditional Irish tunes of ‘simple, rugged and unpretentious beauty’. Yet much of the invention is her own and of high quality to match the concertante work for piano. Alan Feinberg’s performance of the latter is in the grand romantic tradition, with splendid digital bravura in the finale, balanced by warm and often passionately lyrical support from the excellent Nashville orchestra. The Symphony receives a no less sympathetic and committed reading under Kenneth Schermerhorn. The recording is vivid throughout, not in the very front rank perhaps, but bright and atmospheric.

Scott Morrison, August 2003

"This new recording supersedes the older one largely because Feinberg's performance is more assured and brilliant, the sound is crystalline, and the Nashville Symphony's playing is much better than that by the Westphalian Symphony under Siegfried Landau...and of course Naxos's budget price, as usual, is a definite plus...I have no hesitation in recommending this CD. It is another recording in Naxos's admired American Classics series which seems to go from glory to glory. Naxos is doing for American classical music what Lyrita, Conifer, Hyperion and Chandos have done for native British music. The ongoing discovery of the depth and value of our American classical heritage continues to thrill me."

Andrew Druckenbrod
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 2003

"Another new release in the series is Amy Beach's Piano Concerto in C sharp minor and 'Gaelic' Symphony, performed by the Nashville Symphony under Kenneth Schermerhorn. The symphony is given a full and committed treatment by the musicians; indeed, Schermerhorn revels in its Brahmsian qualities (especially the finale!Kthe orchestra's reading is solid. *** Stars"

Wayne Lee Gay, Ft.
Star-Telegram, July 2003

"A generous, warm soul radiates through these passionate, skillfully crafted late-romantic works by the American composer and piano virtuoso known to her pre-feminist contemporaries as Mrs. H.H.A. Beach. Shades of Liszt and Saint-Saens abound in the concerto, written in 1900; listen for the breathtaking close of the first movement cadenza. And an unashamed emotionalism reminiscent of Elgar emerges in the tuneful symphony written in 1896. This is a must-buy for advocates of female composers or American composers, and for fans of bold late romanticism. Kenneth Schermerhorn leads the Nashville Symphony with pianist Alan Feinberg. **** 1/2 Stars"

Neil Horner
MusicWeb International, July 2003

"This new Naxos disc has now to be a top recommendation, especially at budget price... Beach is a landmark female composer who deserves the widest possible hearing for her accessible and beautifully crafted music."

R.E.B., July 2003

"Alan Feinberg is a brilliant soloist in the concerto and in both the concerto and symphony the Nashville Symphony Orchestra is in top form under conductor Kenneth Schermerhorn. Tim Handley was both producer and engineer for the recording...[he] did a fine job in both capacities; sonic quality of this recording is among Naxos' best...Definitely recommended!"

Christopher Blank
Memphis Commercial Appeal, June 2003

"Performed by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Kenneth Schermerhorn, the works are passionate and honest. The "Gaelic" Symphony is inspired by lilts that evoke her Irish heritage. Two fiery works fit for a fiery celebration of independence, Beach's piano concerto and symphony are a patriotic pairing. Pick of the Week"

Clarke Bustard
Richmond Times-Dispatch, June 2003

"Where has Amy Beach's Piano Concerto been all our lives?

Beach's Concerto in C sharp minor is a rarity in today's oversaturated musical environment: a neglected masterpiece... Better late than never, the Beach concerto receives its debut recording by pianist Alan Feinberg with Kenneth Schermerhorn conducting the Nashville Symphony Orchestra (Naxos 8.559139) in the latest installment of Naxos' 'American Classics' series... Feinberg, a pianist most widely known for his advocacy of modern American music, proves to be a highly persuasive high-romantic stylist in this recording. Schermerhorn and the Nashville orchestra support him admirably... The Naxos disc is an outstanding introduction to the Beach concerto, a work that any lover of romantic piano music will savor from the start and return to repeatedly"

Andrew Achenbach
Gramophone, June 2003

"One of the most valuable releases yet in Naxos's American Classics series. Composed in 1898-99, Amy Beach's ambitious, singularly impressive Piano Concerto is at long last coming in from the cold. Alan Feinberg brings extra charisma to bear without any loss of delicacy or poetry, and his collaboration with Kenneth Schermerhorn and the Nashville Symphony undoubtedly generates greater thrust and spontaneity.

Schermerhorn and his eager Nashville band more than hold their own by the side of Neeme Jarvi and the Detroit SO. Theirs is a convincingly paced, tidy performance with real fire in its belly and plenty of character. The sound is truthfully balanced and eminently vivid.

A thoroughly enjoyable issue, whose claims are strengthened by a lucid booklet- essay from Beach scholar Adrienne Fried Block."

Scott Cantrell
Dallas Morning News &

"Amy Beach, perhaps the most fascinating American musician of the 19th century, and a presence through nearly half of the 20th, is undergoing something of a revival.

Her talent bordered on the preternatural. A much older husband hampered her performing career but hugely encouraged her role as a composer. Her lack of formal training perhaps kept her from her full potential as a composer, but everything she wrote is worth a listen.

Here, the Piano Concerto in C-sharp minor seems much more fun than the "Gaelic" Symphony. Beach used the concerto as a calling card around the world when she launched herself on the international concert circuit after her husband's death. Alan Feinberg plays it excitingly, and Kenneth Schermerhorn's accompaniment keeps up with him."

The Tennessean

"Nashville Symphony Orchestra conductor Kenneth Schermerhorn, along with pianist Alan Feinberg, was nominated for best instrumental soloist performance with orchestra, for a Naxos recording of Amy Beach's Piano Concerto in C sharp minor. It was the first nomination of Schermerhorn's 49-year career and the first for a recorded performance featuring the symphony. "It's a rite of passage," said a delighted Schermerhorn, who only the day before helped break ground on a new $120 million concert hall that will bear his name. ''It's a grand feeling.'

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