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What makes American music ‘American’?
Aaron Copland, whose Piano Variations is featured on this recording, spent much of his career promoting what is called ‘American music’. But even in 1973, when he was in his seventies, Copland didn’t seem to be quite sure what American music really was.
Copland’s quandary is indicative of precisely what is American about American music: its extreme cosmopolitanism. Throughout the majority of the twentieth century, this cosmopolitanism can be found in every avenue of American musical life, across multiple genres: from the European-style folk music in rural areas to the imported music of the slaves; from European art music to the network of musicians that support its creation; from popular song to the esoteric avant-garde. Even the music of Spain finds its way into the United States, infused with the sounds native to Latin America. If there ever was a melting pot of musical cultures, it was the United States of America. And it was during the twentieth century that this heady mixture of musical cultures made itself well-known on the world stage. Would it be too much of a cliché to have an American artist perform an all-American recording? Not when it’s Lori Sims, gold medalist of the 1998 Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition. This recording the monumental Samuel Barber Sonata, Charles Griffes Roman Sketches Op.7, Ben Weber Fantasia (Variations) Op.25 apart from the mentioned Copland Variations.
Lori Sims is a forceful performer, strong in her ideas, yet immensely elegant in style. Following the success of a recent recording featuring European composers, Lori Sims’ American Classics recording highlights the fact that American art music could not escape the heritage to Europe.
Piano: Lori Sims
Cat. #: TP1039152
Label: TwoPianists Records
Recorded at: Endler Hall, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
16 – 18 January 2012
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