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Ronald Legum
Audiophile Audition, January 2013

This CD is Volume 1 of the complete piano music of David Del Tredici. Gotham Glory…is an impressive pianistic tone poem…

Aeolian Ballade is made up of a prelude following by a stunning fugue…

Marc Peloquin’s performances of these Del Tredici piano pieces are devotional and technically dazzling. The recording…is a beauty. It was produced by David Del Tredici and Louis Brown, engineered by Mr. Brown. It is highly recommended for lovers of New York and romantic piano music. © 2013 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

Jay Batzner, January 2013

Marc Peloquin sounds perfectly at ease with this disc of David Del Tredici’s piano music and there are many reasons why that should be the case. Peloquin’s technical facility is certainly not in question, he makes works such as the self-described “pianistic terror” of the S/M Ballade sound effortless and almost breezy. Overall, his playing is sensitive and clear and Peloquin captures the emotional core of each work. Another reason that this disc sounds at ease under the performer’s fingertips is the music itself. Del Tredici’s writing is perfectly idiomatic…Gotham Glory is a particularly engaging work with a mock-Chopin prelude, a sensual fugue…the hollow perpetual canon of “Missing Towers” and the closing witty fantasia on “The Skater’s Waltz.”

These compositions are full of elegant refinement and pianists would do well to freshen up their over-played literature with these compositions. © 2013 Read complete review

Allen Gimbel
American Record Guide, November 2012

The collection opens with the very recent Aeolian Ballade…It’s generally very beautiful and serene, with French academic roots, noble counterpoint, and classical modality.

Ballad in Lavender…is a 14-minute fantasy in a fluid romantic style…The atmosphere is dreamy, the harmony tonal, the piano writing unabashedly traditional. The piece is attractive and unpretentious.

Fine playing by Mr Peloquin, especially in the less extroverted passages. I enjoyed the collection and hope that most of these pieces find their way onto ambitious student recitals, which is likely their eventual destination. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online

Paul Corfield Godfrey
MusicWeb International, October 2012

David Del Tredici is probably best-known for his series of works based on Lewis Carroll. In recent years he has moved away from this neo-romantic style—of which he was one of the pioneers—into the more controversial field—in America, at least—of gay rights. His earlier works often overwhelmed the listener with the sheer joy of the sound he conjured from a large romantic orchestra. One wondered how his style would adapt to the smaller medium of the solo piano. This disc is billed as the first in a series of three which will cover the whole of the composer’s piano music.

The answer is, excellently. Del Tredici continues to write in a bold romantic style, and his sense of humour has not deserted him. There is nothing here as overwhelmingly beautiful as the Acrostic Song which brought Final Alice—not the final piece in his Alice cycle by any means, as it happens—to such a powerful conclusion. There is plenty of red meat for the performer and the listener to sink their teeth into. The S/M Ballad is described by del Tredici as a “pianistic terror”, and it is indeed clearly extremely difficult to perform; but the pianist is no sadist, and the listener does not need to be a masochist either.

Marc Peloquin sounds understandably taxed by the sheer virtuosity of the piano writing, but he rises to the challenge and gives a series of towering performances. One looks forward with anticipation to later volumes in this series, which will presumably also include Virtuoso Alice, which is a stunning improvisation around the main theme of del Tredici’s own Acrostic Song. In the meantime this first instalment is thoroughly enjoyable. Even if you don’t think you like modern music, try this: you will be amazed. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Jed Distler
Gramophone, October 2012

…the Romantic tradition runs amok throughout Del Tredici’s recent piano works (he’s a brilliant virtuoso in his own right), leaving no keyboard icon unscathed. Schumann’s Kreisleriana proudly bubbles underneath Ballad in Lavender’s thick yet never fatty surface. Composed in 2008, Aeolian Ballade is a rigorously structured, emotionally freewheeling prelude and fugue, although the S/M Ballade from two years earlier charts more ambitious, technically daunting territory. By contrast, Ballad in Yellow’s relatively modest keyboard layout reflects its origin as an art song.

A longtime Del Tredici champion and associate, pianist Marc Peloquin imbues these composer-supervised performances with idiomatic aplomb and a powerful yet flexible technique…I look forward to future instalments. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Stephen Smoliar, September 2012

…Del Tredici shows a great interest in imitative counterpoint, a structure that arises through either fugue or canon on several of the tracks on this recent CD.

Once foreground and background have been established, the listener can dispense with any cerebral obligation to dwell on every last detail. Indeed, realistic listening demands this, just because there are too many of those details. When one acknowledges this limitation and is willing to listen “from a distance,” so to speak, one discovers that this literal gushing of embellishment that makes up Del Tredici’s score pages serves to signify a figurative joyousness. In other words Peloquin negotiates all of the complexity with a facility through which the rest of us can then revel in all the joy, and it is that sense of joy that makes this such a satisfying recording. © 2012 Read complete review

Dan Morgan
MusicWeb International, September 2012

According to the composer the Aeolian Ballade is an ‘elaborately developed prelude and fugue’…there’s just enough invention—and fine playing—to keep one engaged to the very end…the Ballade in Lavender; an ‘elaborate introduction with cadenza’…has…flowing, lyrical impulse…Clearly Peloquin is up to the work’s technical demands, and I found myself warming to the alternating severity and rhapsodic nature of this music.

…the Ballad in Yellow [is] a transcription of Del Tredici’s earlier vocal setting of a Lorca poem. The guitar-like flourishes and melodic swirls are most beautifully done, the work’s warm heart beating with real strength and ardour.

West Village Morning is as open-hearted and easygoing as this collection gets…No tribute to this metropolis would be complete without a reference to 9/11, so in Missing Towers Del Tredici obliges with a piece of surpassing tenderness and gravity. Irrepressible as ever, he concludes with a musical portrait of the well-known Wollman Rink in Central Park…

The playing is very impressive indeed…

Mellow and mischievous; an unexpected treat. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Bob Neill
Positive Feedback Online, September 2012

It is wonderful, open and free spirited, even when it’s serious…this is highly infectious, irresistible stuff.

This is simply unpretentious, high spirited, balladic…classical music without a trace of irony. It is music we thought no one was permitted to impose on ‘these times’ without being dismissed as naive. Del Tredici gives evidence of being able to do what we would all love to do: hold ‘the times’ off, protect his prodigious, elegant gift from them.

S/M Ballad shows us this music can achieve passion and complexity without surrendering its basic harmonic, straightforward idiom. Gotham Glory (Four Scenes of New York - 2004) begins with “West Village Morning,” which has a rag at its heart; then proceeds to an initially frolicsome, then more vigorous, and finally meditative fugue called “Museum Piece,” suggesting a bolder version of some of Britten’s smaller pieces. “Missing Towers,” the third section, which is about what you think it’s about, is a “perpetual canon” that in its quietude says more on the subject than I’ve heard to date. “Wollman Rink,” the final section of the work, takes us for an intoxicating skate at Rockefeller Center, “Grand Fantasy on the Skater’s Waltz”—exactly the right place to end the celebration.

This is a lot of solo piano music to take in at a sitting, nearly 80 minutes; but I doubt you’ll leave your seat, thanks both to the composer and his pianist, Peloquin, who brings the music to life. A wonderful recital of the kind of music I never thought I’d get to hear again. And there are reportedly two more volumes to come. Don’t miss this train, folks. © 2012 Positive Feedback Online Read complete review, August 2012

Del Tredici has…found a late-in-life performer as a muse: pianist Marc Peloquin, who commissioned S/M Ballade and is now recording all Del Tredici’s piano works—this is the first volume of a planned three-CD series. Del Tredici is supervising the recordings himself, so they deserve to be called definitive. More importantly for listeners, this first disc contains some very fine and interestingly constructed music. In style, Del Tredici is a neo-Romantic, using tonality to anchor his pieces even when he deliberately violates conventions (as by having bits of Kreisleriana performed atop a persistent, dissonant and rather annoying G-flat). The works here come from various emotional directions, and each is effective in its own way. Peloquin’s handling of all this music fully repays Del Tredici’s admiration of his skill and will have listeners eager to hear the other CDs in this series. © 2012 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2012

David Del Tredici is among that group of American composers who have realised in the second half of the 20th century that tonal music still had a long way to go. His career started as a pianist, and it was for the keyboard he originally began composing. In 2003, at the age of 66, he returned to that genre, most of the present disc coming from this most recent period and forms the first release in a cycle of his complete piano works. In the context of modern music, I would have to describe the disc as ‘easy listening’, and while a million miles from jazz music, it has a feeling of improvisation, particularly when decorating the thematic material with musical embroidery. You hear the influence of composers from the 19th century, and, in Ballad in Lavender some brief quotations from Schumann, the earliest piece, Ballad in Yellow, is a transcription of Del Tredici’s song to words from Garcia Lorca, and comes close to the music we readily pigeonhole as ‘crossover’. Maybe I should know the meaning of S/M, but the booklet does not help, the S/M Ballade described by the composer as a ‘twelve minute pianistic terror’. A ‘pop’ style melody constantly enters, the feeling is that every bar is in a different key. Gotham Glory is an extended view of four places in New York City that ends at Woollman Rink with a Grand Fantasy on Waldteufel’s Skaters Waltz. Lasting over seventeen minutes it is a modern view of Lizst. Played by Marc Peloquin, to whom S/M Ballade is dedicated, and with the composer’s presence at the recording sessions, we can take these as benchmark performances. The sound of the piano is, like so many others, distinctive to its recording location. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

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