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Lara Downes: American Ballads

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Price: From $9.98 to $14.98
Artist: Downes, Lara

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Classical pianist Lara Downes takes us on a journey through the heart and soul of the USA with her CD, Lara Downes: American Ballads. On the acclaimed Postcards album, Downes takes a look at some 20th Century American composers that have been influenced by the aural landscape that surrounded them, namely popular song, Jazz, and Folk music. American Ballads features compositions by Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, Charles Ives and others, but one of the highlights of the CD is the world premiere recording of legendary Jazz composer / saxophonist Benny Golson's Classical composition On Gossamer Wings, which Lara debuted at Lincoln Center.

 

"A most delightful artist, with a unique blend of musicianship and showmanship."                                        -National Public Radio

 

"Here is technique so good you're not even aware of it…and yet she

never flaunts it, never gets in the way of the music."

-Lynnda Greene, Fanfare Magazine

 

As a Classical music concept album, American Ballads revisits a vanished but not-so-distant era in the United States. American music is as diverse and as varied in its origin as the people who live here and the landscapes we inhabit.  Its distinct and beautiful flavor comes from the confluence of these many musical references, and from its very American spirit of independence and adventure. On this recording we find music of many forms and inspirations: an Appalachian Folk melody, a languid Blues, a lounge singer’s romance, the big-city sounds of the Jazz age, a tranquil hymn, a tender lullaby - all are beautiful and unique American Ballads.

 

"…an imaginative mix…rhythmical and colorful…

Very, very pleasing."                          

 -Michael Barone, Public Radio Music Source

 

"A stylish force at the keyboard."        - Miami Sun Sentinel 1/00

 

This impressive Postcards CD, entitled Lara Downes: American Ballads (also available via MP3 download), is not only a collection of music inspired by many distinct American voices, but serves as proof of Lara Downes’ imaginative musical vision, and is a testimony to the talent of one of the world’s great young Classical pianists.

 

Selections Include:

 

Excursions, Opus 20  Samuel Barber, 1944
     1. I. Un Poco Allegro
     2. I. In Slow Blues Tempo
     3. III. Allegretto
     4. IV. Allegro Molto
   
Four Piano Blues - Aaron Copland, 1949
     5. I. Freely Poetic
     6. II. Soft and Languid
     7. III. Muted and Sensuous
     8. IV. With Bounce

 9. On Gossamer Wings - Benny Golson, 2000 (World Premiere)                                       
   
American Ballads - Roy Harris, 1947
    10. I. Streets of Laredo
    11. II. Wayfaring Stranger
    12. III. The Bird
    13. IV. Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair
    14. V. Cod Liver Ile
   
North American Ballads - Frederic Rzewski, 1979
    15. III. Down By the Riverside

2nd Piano Sonata: " Concord, Mass. 1840-1860" - Charles Ives, 1909-1915
    16. III. The Alcotts
   
Suite from The Plow That Broke the Plains - Virgil Thompson, 1942
    17. I. Prelude
    18. II. Cowboy Songs
    19. III. Blues
    20. IV. Finale

21. American Nocturne - Dana Suesse, 1942


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