Sunday, April 12, 2009

'Piano Music by African American Composers', CRI 629, by Natalie Hinderas (1927-1987)

[Natalie Hinderas (1927-1987)]

Piano Music by African American Composers, CRI 629 (1992), was recorded by the African American pianist Natalie Hinderas. It is the subject of the ninth post on a new blog dealing with music of George Walker (b. 1922), the first African American composer to receive a Pulitzer Prize in Music. He is profiled at, as are Arthur Cunningham (1928-1997), R. Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943), Duke Ellington (1899-1974), Scott Joplin (1868-1917) and William Grant Still (1895-1978): 

“Greeted with shock and amazement upon its original release in 1970, this two-CD collection featuring virtuoso Natalie Hinderas on piano is one of the best collections of music by African American composers of the 20th century. Hinderas's catholic approach to the century's music allows her to delight the Chopin-Ravel-Joplin continuum (wide though it is) of listeners with R. Nathaniel Dett's impressionistic, ragtimey "In the Bottoms." The nuanced jumpiness, replete with dissonant shades, of William Grant Still's "Three Visions" recalls Ives here and Ellington there. What's most challenging here is the works from 1953 to 1969, featuring Pulitzer Prize winner George Walker's study of harmonic intervals in his Sonata No. 1 and Talib Rasul-Hakim's shimmering "Sound-Gone." There are tone-row studies (Arthur Cunningham) and Stockhausen-esque electronics (Olly Wilson), but what stands out most is Hinderas's unflappable perfection regardless of the musical elements. Whether razor-sharp or dancingly playful, Hinderas executes with a largely vibrato-free touch, forcing the ear to focus on her solid chordal touch. --Andrew Bartlett”

No comments: