Barber / Beach / Huangci - Made In Usa | RECORD STORE DAY
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Presented as 'An Experiment in Modern Music' when it was premiered in 1924, Rhapsody in Blue made George Gershwin famous, and he soon set to work on a version for solo piano, recorded here by Claire Huangci. In her first solo disc for Alpha Classics, Claire was keen to celebrate this centenary alongside her roots in America, where she was born, studied music and made her debut as a concert artist at the age of nine. The brilliant improviser and transcriber Earl Wild (1915-2010) took Gershwin's songs (Liza, Fascinatin' Rhythm, Somebody Loves Me, I Got Rhythm, Embraceable You, Oh, Lady Be Good, The Man I Love) to form the basis of his Seven Virtuoso Etudes for solo piano. Equally virtuosic is the Op. 26 Sonata by Samuel Barber, whom Vladimir Horowitz (who premiered the work in Havana in December 1949) regarded as one of the few Americans capable of writing for the piano. The New Hampshire-born composer Amy Beach took her inspiration from the folk music of both the New World and the Balkans, while retaining her harmonic language inherited from the Romantics. Her Variations Op. 60 (1904) bear witness to these influences.