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MUSIC REVIEW

Pianist Fierro Portions Out Tuneful Works

June 11, 1996|DANIEL CARIAGA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Miniatures are nice--and almost never to be disparaged--but the program of short pieces played by Nancy Fierro at Westwood United Methodist Church on Sunday afternoon became unbalanced through its uniformity.

The California pianist, who for two decades has specialized in music by female composers, chose some worthwhile scores--the first half from the Romantic period and late 20th century, the second half from the American era of ragtime--and put it together cannily. But every one of these 16 items by nine composers was brief, taking between only two and six minutes to play. This was an afternoon with a lot of stopping.

And more talking than necessary. Fierro is informed and with genuine sincerity imparts her knowledge to her listeners. Yet, six lecturettes in one program gets excessive.

Music by Maria Szymanowska, Clara Wieck Schumann, Alicia Terzian and Jane O'Leary occupied the pre-intermission portion, neatly if sometimes dispassionately performed.

Fierro showed considerable more life in her ragtime half, wherein she revived pieces by Mabel Tilton, Irene Giblin, Mary Baugh Watson, Adaline Shepherd and May Aufderheide. All of this turned out to be charming music, charmingly and aggressively played.

The recital marked the dedicatory event of a new (to the church) Falcone piano, one of five pianos generously donated by Charles Shaffer, who also gave the recently installed organ to the Wilshire Boulevard church.

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