Barber The Complete Solo Piano Music

"Barber’s piano music covers his whole career and the styles of the pieces employ almost as many different languages. Take his masterpiece for the instrument – the Sonata. Commissioned by Irving Berlin and Richard Rodgers to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the League of Composers it is a tersely and cogently argued work. It employed twelve note technique, but never loses sight of tonality. It was premièred by Vladimir Horowitz. It’s a tour de force of piano writing and is a ferociously difficult work both to play and to listen to. Browning plays this complex work to the manner born...he makes a very persuasive case for the work and this is a superb performance." Bob Briggs


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"Samuel Barber wrote his Piano Concerto for John Browning (1933-2003) who gave the première at the inaugural celebrations for the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York in 1962. The work was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and has become the most frequently performed American Piano Concerto – Browning himself gave about 400 performances of the work. The present disk, when it appeared on MusicMasters in 1993 earned him his second Grammy for “Best Classical Instrumental Soloist without Orchestra...if ever a pianist was immersed in Barber’s piano works Browning was the man.

There’s little that can be said of this recital except that is essential listening and the performances are as committed as one could hope for. Browning’s was a major talent which was heard all too infrequently outside the USA so we must be grateful for his recordings. This is well worth having on the shelf both as a reminder of a great pianist and as an example of some of the most refined piano music to come out of America in the 20th century."  Bob Briggs,

"His performance of the Sonata is very impressive, the Scherzo articulated with witty delicacy, and he confidently surmounts the technical difficulties of the closing fugue. It comes here as part of the composer's complete solo piano music...All this music is played with a spontaneous virtuosity and much understanding, and the 1993 recording is excellent."  The Penguin Guide

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