American Character

Peter Kairoff (piano)

Catalog #: TROY0745
Release Date: March 1, 2005
Format: Digital

Peter Kairoff writes: "The music of George Whitefield Chadwick is not nearly as well known as it ought to be. Although widely respected and admired in his lifetime, his music fell into relative obscurity after his death, and is only recently performed once more with any frequency. His piano music, in particular, has suffered from neglect: very few of the pieces on this disc have ever been recorded before. Why this should be so remains something of a mystery, for many of Chadwick's piano works display the same inventiveness, charm and craftsmanship found in his orchestral and chamber works. The title of this disc - American Character - reflects the fact that all of Chadwick's piano music is written in the style of the 'Character Piece': brief, memorable evocations of one particular mood or image. Chadwick was certainly able to craft large-scale forms when he wanted to, as he did in his symphonies and chamber works to great effect. But his piano works are all on a smaller scale, like Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words, Grieg's Lyric Pieces, and so many other piano pieces of the nineteenth century. And like those models. Chadwick's piano music often evokes the world of Art Song, that wonderful and evocative fusion of poetry and music which was so popular in the nineteenth century. Like Art Song, these piano pieces capture a single vivid mood or visual image: a rushing stream, an aspen tree shuddering in the breeze, or even a group of noisy frogs. At his death in 1931, Chadwick was hailed by the influential critic Olin Downes in The New York Times as the composer who "represents most completely the body of serious American music." Taste shifted, of course, and all too soon Chadwick's music was forgotten, or dismissed as old fashioned. But now taste seems to be shifting back, and we are better able to appreciate the creativity, craftsmanship, and charm of a composer who himself was something of an American Character."


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Track Listing

Title Composer Performer
Five Pieces for Piano George Whitefield Chadwick Peter Kairoff, piano
Three Waltzes George Whitefield Chadwick Peter Kairoff, piano
Six Characteristic Pieces, Op. 7 George Whitefield Chadwick Peter Kairoff, piano
Two Caprices George Whitefield Chadwick Peter Kairoff, piano
Three Pieces for Children George Whitefield Chadwick Peter Kairoff, piano


  • ""...this is a delightful disc, full of charming music. ...[George Whitefield Chadwick] has found an excellent proponent in Peter Kairoff, who tackles this unassuming music with the necessary lightness, energy, and.... a good measure of poetry as well."

    – Classics Today

  • "Chadwick's piano works[']...attractiveness is immediate. ...In short, recommended."

    – Fanfare

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