GORDON GETTY: Piano Pieces – Conrad Tao, piano – PentaTone

by | Apr 19, 2013 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

GORDON GETTY: Piano Pieces (TrackList follows] – Conrad Tao, piano – PentaTone multichannel SACD PTC 5186 505, 53:12 [Distr. by Naxos] ***1/2:

You have to admire Gordon Getty’s ruthless commitment to his musical style. Early on he realized that his was a muse essentially born in the wrong century, that he was a child of the nineteenth, and this certainly comes across in this piano music, which keeps reminding me of Mendelssohn, at least in its essence. Even the music that is forty years apart—and don’t forget that Getty stopped composing for a period of 18 years before picking up the pen again—is so similar in nature, with very little detectable “development” in style, that you are hard pressed to tell which piece came first.

The music is generally descriptive (almost all of it has been orchestrated and recorded in that form) and based on dance forms. It is colorful, entertaining, though I find it rarely memorable in terms of searing itself into my memory. The 15 pieces of the Ancestor Suite make for the longest here, almost 30 minutes in length, while the others are far shorter. I have no doubt I would be pleased to hear any of this in a concert setting; whether or not that same feeling persists in my home listening habits remains to be seen. Getty is quite prolific, has the backing of a major company in Pentatone, and there will be lots of music in a lot of genres to judge whether his voice will be one that is remembered.

Conrad Tao, with quite a resume under his belt, plays the music to perfection, and I cannot imagine anything that could be added by anyone else. The sound is typical Pentatone piano, and that is very good indeed.

TrackList:  Homework Suite; Ancestry Suite; Three Traditional Pieces; First Adventure; Raise the Colors; Andantino; Scherzo Pensieroso

—Steven Ritter

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