This is NOT your typical Classical CD! But Christopher Finkelmeyer is not your typical pianist. Performing Arts Organizations, audiences and U.S. & International critics have celebrated Finkelmeyer's audience-friendly presentations for reaching out to new listeners while never compromising the music. And that very passion for breaking down the barriers between audience and performer, in order to let the music shine through, has now been captured on this new release of solo Classical piano music - "Passionately UnStuffed".
Like his performances, this CD, by the award-winning pianist hailed a "virtuoso of both technical and emotional power", features fare for the first-time Classical music listener and pianophile alike. Debussy's favorite "Clair de lune", Gershwin's jazzy "Three Preludes" and the beloved "Pavane for a Dead Princess" by Ravel mingle successfully with the virtually unheard Leschetizky "Romance", Gottschalk's seldom recorded "Union", and the finger-twisting virtuosity of Liszt's "Faust Waltzes".
"Christopher Finkelmeyer has clearly intended this album for the classical neophyte crowd, but any such concept album should also succeed with the more seasoned crowd if it's worth its salt, and I predict Finkelmeyer can score high points in a couple key areas.
First and foremost, he is a darn good musician, not surprising given that he was a student of Earl Wild, Paul Badura-Skoda, and Adele Marcus. As the title of the collection suggests, Finkelmeyer is interested in conveying his unjaded passion for the music he plays, which he does with a bright alert tone that still allows for a big sound if the music calls for massiveness.
He is in his best in the long, flowing lines of the Liszt opera-paraphrases and the soft contours of the Liszt Consolation No. 3, or in the Ravel Pavane, where he indulges in sumptuous tone-painting. In the bravura, complex passages in the Ginastera and Gottschalk, as well as the jazzy rhythms of the Gershwin Preludes, Finkelmeyer is nimble but restrained.
The other point that may win this album an audience outside the casual-listener market is Finkelmeyer's unique choice of repertoire...
It is a small but satisfying pleasure to hear the sweet yet harmonically imaginative music of the great pedagogue Leschetizky as well as his star pupil, Paderewski...
...it is hard not to enjoy this very musical recital and if Finkelmeyer can build an audience this way, more power to him."
“Christopher Finkelmeyer is a self-described ‘non-conformist’ with a mission: to make ‘great music’ more accessible to a broad audience. Since he’s a student of Adele Marcus, Paul Badura-Skoda, and Earl Wild, it’s no surprise that he doesn't reach out by dumbing down his programs. Rather, he brings in his listeners by stressing informality and immediacy in his presentations…
This cd offers a cross-section of some of the shorter pieces in his repertoire… and I suspect that it serves well both as a memento of his recitals and as an audio resume for anyone considering booking him for a concert series…
Make no mistake: he’s a promising artist, and much of the artistry here, especially in the less extroverted passages, has a fetching allure.
It’s hard, for instance, not to be taken in by the sweetness of his Paderewski, the relaxed sensuality of the central panel of the Ginastera, and the subtle suppleness of his Leschetizky, an uncharacteristically effective work that straddles the line between Chopin and Fauré in the manner of early Debussy. His nimble Gershwin is engaging as well.
Engineering is excellent, and the irreverently breezy notes by Kate North will probably appeal to the young listeners to whom they are aimed.”
—Peter J. Rabinowitz
"A performance that is at once powerful, striking, and tender."
The Times Argus, VT