This CD explores American solo piano music: optimistic, energetic, and full of easy confidence and dance rhythms.
It begins with a bravura piece by Richard Hoffman (1831-1909) who was Jenny Lind's accompanist on her famous US tour arranged by PT Barnum. Hoffman later became an important figure in the New York musical scene. Next are two works by John Knowles Paine (1839-1906) who was instrumental in creating the first University department of music in the US at Harvard. Amy Beach is represented by her lyrical masterpiece "Dreaming". Debussy and Ravel influenced Charles Griffes (884-1920); while Daniel Gregory Mason (1873-1953), grandson of famous hymn writer Lowell Mason, composes more in the style of Rachmaninoff in "Night Wind". Manna Zucca (1885-1981) is the second woman composer on the disk; her "Valse Brilliante" is very much in the style of Godowsky.
Next, we hear several examples of African American music. Fred Stone's (1873-1912) "Silks and Rags" is a delightful ragtime waltz that begins with a tango. Nathaniel Dett's (1882-1943) "Juba Dance" is a catchy depiction of fiddling by the rivers of the South, and Scott Joplin's rags (1868-1917) are American classics.
George Gershwin (1898-1937) consciously integrated many aspects of African-American music into his work. Ms. Bogart performs five delightful arrangements by Gershwin of his songs and one excerpt from "Shall We Dance", the "Promenade".
Aaron Copland (1900-1990) captured the spirit of the American West in his ballet Rodeo, and transcribed much of it for solo piano. The "Saturday Night Waltz" is lyrical and tender, and the "Hoe-Down" is a well-known, toe tapping evocation of a country fiddling and dancing.
Zez Confrey (1895-1971) was a contemporary of George Gershwin, and his "novelty" style was a transition from ragtime to more modern jazz. "Dizzy Fingers" is delightful and good humored.
Morton Gould (1913-1996) combines the rhythmic drive of boogie-woogie with technical virtuosity and tongue planted firmly in cheek in the "Boogie Woogie Etude".