The Mid-Century American Piano Show

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RCA Exhibition Hall, 1958

Today's show puts the spotlight on one of America's most interesting and artistically innovative periods: the post-war years, stretching from the 1950's to the 1970's. This historic time saw the rise of New York City Village composition culture, from the likes of Cage, Feldman, and Wolpe. But that's not all: today's focus is ALSO about the instrument that every composer must write for, probably again and again: the PIANO.

Vincent Persichetti is rarely mentioned as part of the mid-century American scene, but he totally should be. This prolific and terrific composer wrote for every instrument, including some truly charming Sonatinas for Piano.

Stefan Wolpe and Earl Browne have long been considered staples of the New York scene, and these pieces will blow your mind: Wolpe's startling ballet score, Man from Midian, which tackles a subject from the Old Testament, and Browne's 25 Pages, which is much more abstract (and perhaps more indicative of it's era). 

And where would we be without Morton Feldman, who changed the world with his gorgeous chords? Let's hear his Piano, which is a bit more complex than it seems: at times the solo piano part splits into THREE piano parts! Master pianist Aleck Karis finds an elegant solution.

So come hang out with us, the Brother Balliett, as we take a time machine to the New York of the '50s, to hear some composer tickle the ivories.