Griffes - The Vale of Dreams: Piano Music
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Label: Brilliant Classics
Cat No: 95349
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 24th March 2017
Fantasy pieces (3), op.6
Rhapsody in B minor
Roman sketches (4), op.7
Tone pictures (3), op.5
ArtistsEmanuele Torquati (piano)
Among their number must be counted Charles Tomlinson Griffes (1884-1920), who was endowed with a creative vein that allowed him to produce, in the space of a decade, works for the piano that were to become a point of reference for the following generation of American composers, especially Charles Ives and Aaron Copland. Indeed, Copland paid him posthumous tribute at Harvard in 1952: ‘What he gave those of us who came after him was a sense of the adventurous in composition, of being thoroughly alive to the newest trends in world music and to the stimulus that might be derived from such contact.’
Such exuberance and influence is most vividly apparent in the three-movement Sonata which is the most forward-looking work on the disc. In its bitonality and untameable energy lie the seeds of a modern American music waiting to be nurtured by Ives and Elliott Carter. Earlier works are poetically inspired, such as the Roman Sketches op.7, which became repertoire items for the likes of Olga Samaroff and Dame Myra Hess. With its overlapping chords, ‘Nightfall’ conjures up an aura of mystery, while ‘The Fountain of Acqua Paola’ is a virtuoso piece somewhat reminiscent of Liszt’s Les jeux d’eaux à la Villa d’Este. No less a figure than Ferruccio Busoni was greatly struck by Griffes’s music, especially the three-movement cycle of tone poems from which this album draws its evocative title, The Vale of Dreams.
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