Barbara Nissman

"...one of the last pianists in the grand romantic tradition of Liszt, Rachmaninoff, and Rubinstein"

This valuable CD brings two firsts: the early Concierto Argentino, written in 1935 and then withdrawn and the original version of the Second Concerto. The Concierto Argentino turns out to be enormous fun, with two ebullient folk-inspired outer movements animated with spicy dissonance and encasing a sultry nightscape. The Bartókian First Concerto (1961) likewise places two  powerful toccatas with fearsome solo parts, either side of a spooky Scherzo allucinante and death-still Adagissimo. The Second Concerto (1972) has made the move into musical modernism but is immediate and arresting despite its more difficult style. Barbara Nissman was the composer’s choice to record his solo piano music, and with reason: she has a Rachmaninovian sweep and grandeur to her playing, and you need hardly make any concessions to the student musicians of the University of Michigan – just a little congestion in the texture here and there but nothing to distract you. A major release.

Martin Anderson

International Piano July/August 2013

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