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PERFORMING ARTS | RECORDINGS

Fresh Spins on Classical Mainstays

*** 1/2 EDWARD MacDOWELL & COMPANY: American Piano Music, 1884-1902. Malcolm Frager, piano. (New World Records)

October 25, 1998|Daniel Cariaga

Frager, the late, great American pianist (1935-1991), was among other things a specialist in the music of Schumann. But he also probed other corners of the repertory; here, recorded in 1978, he gives life to practically forgotten music by MacDowell, Adolph Foerster, Horatio Parker, Henry Gilbert, Ethelbert Nevin and Henry Holden Huss. Not all are masterpieces, yet they resound with pungency and interest. Most engrossing are MacDowell's Twelve Virtuoso Studies, Opus 46, which follow in the line of musical standards set by Chopin and Liszt. Frager's resourceful pianism displays all the grace, virtuosity, humor and sensuousness this music demands.

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