Through the Years (CD review)

Dmitry Paperno, piano. Cedille Records CDR 90000 074.

Soviet-born (Ukraine), American émigré concert pianist Dmitry Paperno (b. 1929) turned seventy-five in the year of this recording's release, 2004, and he showed he still knew his stuff. Through the Years remains one of the most-satisfying piano recitals you can find.

Although Dmitry Paperno is probably still not a household name in America, his talent is evident in every note of this confident, relaxing, inspired album. The material he chose for inclusion on the disc is thankfully not quite of the tried-and-true warhorse variety but a mixture of popular with lesser-known, slightly melancholy pieces that fit the mood set by the small, lonely figure in the golden autumn pictured on the CD booklet cover.

Dmitry Paperno
Among the eighteen works in the collection include Bach's Sinfonia No 2, Scarlatti's Sonata in C minor, Schumann's Intermezzo in D minor, Liszt's Sonetto del Petrarca, Debussy's "Hommage a Rameau," Borodin's "In a Monastery," and so on. But my two favorites are Beethoven's lovely "Andante favori" and Albeniz's heartbreaking "Tango." Each of the works on the disc is a tiny gem, played and polished by an artist with a feeling for the music. Paperno provides all the nuance and sensitivity the pieces demand.

Cedille's recording characteristics always sound first rate, and this effort is no different. The piano tone is quite natural, Mr. Paperno's Steinway appearing well defined without being bright, forward, hard, or edgy. There is a nice bloom to the musical ambience as well, lending a most realistic if not always transparent quality to the sonics. In other words, the sound matches the mood of the music: easy, casual, cultivated, and perfectly charming.

JJP

To hear an excerpt from this album, click on the forward arrow:


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John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio

About the Author

Understand, I'm just an everyday guy reacting to something I love. And I've been doing it for a very long time, my appreciation for classical music starting with the musical excerpts on The Big John and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor.

Today, I'm retired from teaching and use a pair of bi-amped VMPS RM40s loudspeakers for my listening. In addition to writing the Classical Candor blog, I served as the Movie Review Editor for the Web site Movie Metropolis (formerly DVDTown) from 1997-2013. Music and movies. Life couldn't be better.

Mission Statement

It is the goal of Classical Candor to promote the enjoyment of classical music. Other forms of music come and go--minuets, waltzes, ragtime, blues, jazz, bebop, country-western, rock-'n'-roll, heavy metal, rap, and the rest--but classical music has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for hundreds more. It's no accident that every major city in the world has one or more symphony orchestras.

When I was young, I heard it said that only intellectuals could appreciate classical music, that it required dedicated concentration to appreciate. Nonsense. I'm no intellectual, and I've always loved classical music. Anyone who's ever seen and enjoyed Disney's Fantasia or a Looney Tunes cartoon playing Rossini's William Tell Overture or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 can attest to the power and joy of classical music, and that's just about everybody.

So, if Classical Candor can expand one's awareness of classical music and bring more joy to one's life, more power to it. It's done its job.

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa