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Hal Freedman: Blog

Program Notes for "Piano Recital"

Posted on February 10, 2015 with 0 comments
About the Album:

Piano Recital is a chronology of classical music composition spanning two hundred years. Commencing with the Baroque period, it moves through the Classical period, the early, middle and late Romantic periods and ends with twentieth century Impressionism. From Bach's cerebral and spiritual designs to Debussy's night sky alight with fireworks on the eve of Bastille Day; this is an album of many colors, moods, emotions and realities.

About the Music:

The musical works in Piano Recital require no explanation with the possible exception of Schumann's "Papillons." Enigmatic in structure and character; it represents Schumann's fusion of musical ideas with literary ones. It is a musical reference to certain random events that take place in the last scene of a novel. Two men vie to seduce a beautiful woman, set to the exuberant dancing and intrigues of a nineteenth century masquerade ball. The title "Papillons" (French for butterflies), is lifted from the following [...]
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It could be said that nature, myth, and legend were the source of Claude Debussy's inspiration.His music summons you to enter a world of sheer sensual beauty, where the incantations of nature and ancient realms can be heard. The physical storm that is Debussy's music awakens bothe the senses and the mysterious past that sleeps within each and every one of us.

Voices of the Woods

Throughout history, the forest has been regarded as a symbol of spirituality and the cycle of life. It has inspired thought, and fired the imagination. The great composers gave the forest world a voice through the language of music. In their works, many Voices of the Woods are heard and preserved for posterity.

Part l
Robert Schumann
Waldszenen, Op. 82 (Forest Scenes)
The Romantic poetry of the nineteenth century was rich with the imagery and symbolism of the forest. It was often expressed through music, such as in the beautiful "Waldszenen," or "Forest Scenes," inspired by some of Schumann's favorite poems. This collection of nine musical vignettes evokes the forest as a place of mystery and the unknown, as well as a sanctuary of safety and peace. Composed in 1848-1849, toward the end of a life cut short, it is documented that Schumann "cherished" these pieces.

Part ll
Edvard Grieg
Lyric Pieces
These six works from a collection of sixty-six [...]
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Classical Soul CD reviews

Posted on September 23, 2011 with 0 comments
"Classical Soul" album reviews

"Classical Soul" contains a great unique program of compositions; I really enjoyed the various techniques you explore with your music and on the piano. In "Nocturne No 20, I really enjoyed the playing; excellent feel, very nice phrasing of the melody, interesting breaths in the phrases, great piano sound, and your playing is beautiful. "

--- J. Williams, jazz musician, Berklee School of Music

Listening to this cd has taught me the possibilities. His playing is magical and his musicianship wonderous. How often have you heard a musician perform who is technically flawless yet the playing is empty? Not the case here! When you listen to this cd, you are moved by the depth feeling in the playing, by the soul of the musician.

Truly, this CD is aptly titled!

--- M. Karpin, Philadelphia

It gives me great pleasure to listen to your brilliant performances,
and [...]
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About the Music
The piano solos in this album are expressions of the mid to late Romantic period in Western culture. The Romantic period began in the early nineteenth century, evolved well into the twentieth century, and clearly left its stamp on our culture of today. The Romantic aesthetic encompassed music and all the arts. It was aptly described by the French poet Charles Baudelaire; "Romanticism is precisely situated neither in choice of subject matter nor exact truth but rather in the way of feeling."
For the romantic composers, personal and subjective feeling was far more compelling than all the forms, attitudes and traditions of the past. Their journey, initiated by Beethoven, can be described as the intensive inward exploration of the imagination, intuition and that most powerful of forces, human emotion. They struggled to free themselves from the conventions of society, reaching new heights of individuality and self-expression. The prevailing social sentiment among the [...]
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