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5 Out of 4 Stars from Audiophile Review
Anne Akiko Meyers makes her debut on Koch International Classics with a stunning recital that suggests a surprising new legitimacy to the crossover concept. The disc begins with a sweet bit of nostalgia by Charlie Chaplin (“Smile” - the theme for his classic film, Modern Times) and concludes with a bittersweet take on “Over the Rainbow.” The in between ranges from the inevitable Astor Piazzolla and the increasingly inevitable Arvo Pärt and even Messiaen to settings of two Japanese songs from the early 20th century. The central in between is a thoughtful performance of Schubert’s 25-minute Fantasy in C major Op. 159, an emotional and technical heavyweight in which pianist Akira Eguchi contributes playing of exceptional poetry. The recital’s biggest surprise is Messiaen’s eight-minute “Fantaisie,” composed in 1933 for the composer’s first wife, violinist and composer Claire Delbos. It was only discovered in 2007, and here receives only its third recording. A simple piece of lyrical beauty, at times it seems like a subtle violinistic equivalent of Messiaen’s bells and bird calls style. The recital is sequenced so effectively that the each new style creates a riveting new musical window and the 63-minute recital passes very quickly. Presumably, Koch and Meyers have more planned in their joint arsenal. The intense, close-up recording produced by Susan Napodano DelGiorno in Theater A of the Performing Arts Center at SUNY Purchase, catches every nuance of Meyers’ tone which ranges from eerily glassy sound to sumptuous richness, and captures every inflection of her intensely personal phrasing. You can occasionally even hear the resin on the bow, every pizzicato is a tangible delight, and the piano sound dances with color and life. Nowhere are these qualities more evident than in the Japanese folksongs, the first of which is adapted for violin and prepared piano from a work originally composed for bamboo flute and the plucked koto, the second (for solo violin) adapted from a work for koto solo. Karissa Krenz’s program note, which include input and direct quotes from Meyers, successfully toes the line between marketing copy and genuine insight. - Laurence Vittes
While I'm still creeped out by professional music writers artificially propping up music for records companies I have to agree with the last reviewer. This is a great album through and though. Meyers does toss in an occational pop tune but this doesn't make it a crossover album but makes for a diverse recital. One can only hope that we will be hearing more from Meyers at her new home. Bravo!
5/5 except for track no. 11
5 stars except... Do not buy track number 11. Horrible electronic skip at 1:54-2:00. Great artist, excellent musicianship... just wish itunes would replace this recording with a unblemished copy.