Piano Music
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Understated, elegant music.

Joseph Fennimore has written songs, chamber music, orchestral works, and two one-act operas. His works have been performed by the Chicago Symphony, the Metropolitan Opera Studio, the New York City Ballet, at the Almeida Festival in London, and the Ravinia, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and Tanglewood festivals, among others. His music has been performed nationwide, in Europe and Japan and broadcast worldwide on Spectrum, Nonesuch, and Albany Records. Born in New York City, Fennimore has been composing since childhood. He attended the Eastman and Juilliard Schools of Music, receiving degrees with honors from both. After a brief but distinguished career as a pianist, he founded and or its first five years directed the Hear America First Concert Series in New York City devoted to American music. The piano works on this disc include Armistice, a set of three pieces named for the intermission between the two world wars; Variations on a Theme of Beethoven; The Woolworth Man and The Hen's Snuffbox are stylized rags taking their titles from poems in Afro-American dialect by Herbert Woodward Martin. Foxtrot is a sonata in two movements. Blues conjures smoky bars, a haze of booze, hangovers and regrets for the sour love of one-night stands. An Old Soft Shoe is danced by a vaudeville tatterdemalion in top hat and tails, deftly bouncing his rubber cane, executing comic bits and pratfalls while proudly recalling better times long gone. Bernini's altarpiece of St. Teresa in ecstasy and St. Teresa's own writings about the experience give some notion of the central portion of the Second Romance: Calentura de Teresa. The first performance of Concerto Piccolo was at the Eastman School with Howard Hanson conducting.
Contents:
Joseph Fennimore, composer
Two Pieces from Armistice
Juana Zayas, piano

Joseph Fennimore, composer
Variations on a Theme by Beethoven
Juana Zayas, piano

Joseph Fennimore, composer
Two Rags
Juana Zayas, piano

Joseph Fennimore, composer
Foxtrot
Juana Zayas, piano

Joseph Fennimore, composer
Second Romance: Calentura de Teresa
Juana Zayas, piano

Joseph Fennimore, composer
Concerto Piccolo
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Paul Freeman, conductor, Joseph Fennimore, piano

Review:
"Joseph Fennimore is the iconoclastic pianist who gave up the concert stage after a short but promising career...He also had an urge to be a creative rather than a re-creative artist and has dedicated his considerable musical talent to composition. I didn't know what to expect as I put the disc in the player and pushed the start button....But I found a composer with a real imagination; an original thinker in the authentic American romantic tradition of Samuel Barber and Charles Ives. The compositions on this well-filled disc are in turn melodic, witty, pithy, whimsical, and most important, never dull....The composer is soloist in the Concerto Piccolo, written in his student days at Eastman. He plays this marvelous confection to perfection, making me wish anew he hadn't abandoned the pianistic side of his career. Albany's sonics are first rate." (American Record Guide)
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