Dances for Piano & Orchestra

Dances for Piano & Orchestra by Pierné, Castro, Chopin, Saint-Saëns, Weber, Gottschalk & Cadman—Joel Fan, piano; Northwest Sinfonietta/Christophe Chagnard (Reference 134)
The relative scarcity of pieces like those assembled here—works for piano and orchestra under 14 minutes in length—reveals a nearly irresistible impulse among composers: the need to express themselves in multi-movement, large-scale canvasses of sound. These works, in contrast, make their points and move on. It’s great to have a new recording of Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s popular Grande Tarantelle, but the most exotic selection here has to be Charles Wakefield Cadman’s Fantasy for Orchestra with Piano, Dark Dancers of the Mardi Gras. It was wildly popular back in the early 1930s, but is seldom encountered today. In the CD notes, Bernard Jacobsen calls it “an uproarious, unrestrainedly ebullient celebration of the fleshly indulgences associated with the carnival season.” Wow!
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