Boomkat Product Review:
This latest release on Orange Mountain Music, that most dedicated of outlets for the music of Philip Glass, focuses on the interpretative talents of pianist Paul Barnes, who was instrumental in the commissioning of Glass' 'Piano Concerto No.2 (After Lewis and Clark)', and later went on to transcribe the work for solo piano, as recorded here. Uncharacteristically for an OMM release, the work of other American composers is featured too, with Barnes interpreting Samuel Barber's 'Nocturne', 'Ballade' and 'Sonata for Piano, Op.26' in addition to Joan Tower's 'Holding a Daisy, Or Like a.... an Engine'. Barnes' claims at virtuosity are not without foundation. The Barber sonata in particular showcases an exceptional technical faculty, and a massively expressive dynamic range; one which at its most flurried and torrential can be incredibly confrontational. In fact, the only real criticism to be leveled at this release is its recording quality, which although by no means dreadful, loses too much of the performance to the concert hall, meaning that some of Barnes' finer details are obscured in the quieter passages. This should be written off as a fairly minor quibble however, as the music itself is never lacking.