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Classical

Women at the New Piano

Women at the New Piano
    • Music
    • Sonics
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    Reference Recordings garnered seven nominations for the 2016 Grammy Awards, including two for Woman at the New Piano. The disc premieres six works written in 2013 by four composers, three of whom, like Shpachenko, live and work in the Los Angeles environs. Proposed for “Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance” was Tom Flaherty’s Airdancing for Toy Piano, Piano, and Electronics, where Shpachenko is joined by another Angeleno, Genevieve Feiwen Lee. (A “toy piano,” by the way, is a real instrument, like a toy poodle is a real dog.) The sonority ranges from eerie, gossamer-like beauty to mechanical ravings, sometimes evoking an Indonesian gamelan. Flaherty also provides Part Suite-a, two spiky, percussive movements surrounding a lullaby of sorts. Adam Schoenberg contributes Picture Studies (a modern-day Pictures at an Exhibition) and the upbeat/majestic Bounce for two pianos. Finger Songs, by Peter Yates, registers as low-key jazz improvisation. Cretic Variations, by the New York composer James Matheson, thoroughly explores the possibilities of a poetic form known as “cretic foot.” Shpachenko and Lee perform the music with complete authority, and they’re superbly recorded at 176.4/24 resolution in a 550-seat concert hall by Shpachenko’s husband, Barry Werger-Gottesman. Keith Johnson was the mastering engineer.  

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