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The Piano Magazine - Clavier Companion

January 2015

American Recital - Ulrich Roman Murtfeld, piano

This beautifully produced SACD presents Murtfeld at his musical best. The opening virtuosic set by Gottschalk is superbly nuanced, with supple, inflected phrasing within a multitude of textures, particularly in the Pasquinade and Ricordati. Berceuse and The Last Hope receive warm, gentle readings, and The Banjo effectively bounces toward its rousing conclusion. Gerhswin's Three Preludes are rendered with admirable clarity, even with the second prelude's surprisingly brisk tempo. More unusual offerings include a well-paced and expressive "Opening Piece" from Philip Glass's Glassworks and an effective performance of Rzewski's Piano Piece No. 4. in the latter, Murtfeld marvelously exploits colorful chordal textures, extreme dynamic schemes, and rhythmic intensity. Barber's Nocturne is senstively etched, with undulating harmonies always supporting the lovingly sculpted, constantly evolving melodic line. The rather relaxed pacing of the Barber Sonata highlights the musical elements of the outer movements, with relatively successful results. This is a musical, acoustically satisfying disc. S.H.