Three American Romantics
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A sampling of early 20th century piano music by an authority!

This disc contains three wonderful American works for piano, two of which, the Converse and the Oldberg, are receiving their world premiere performances here. The least known figure on the disc has to be Arne Oldberg. Who was he? He was the teacher of Howard Hanson for starters. He was born and lived in the Chicago area. His father, Oscar Oldberg, founded in 1886 and was the first Dean of the School of Pharmacy at Northwestern University. His son, Dr. Eric Oldberg, became President of both of the Chicago Board of Health and the Orchestral Association, the governing body of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Arne was appointed Professor of Music at Northwestern University in 1899, and later Dean of the graduate school, a position he held until he retired in 1941. Mary Louise Boehm writes: "I met Mr. Oldberg after he had retired. I premiered his Third Piano Concerto with the Chicago Civic Orchestra. Oldberg himself played for me his Piano Sonata which is recorded here. He also coached me, explaining his ideas about the piece to me." Frederick Shepherd Converse never had to worry about money as he was born into a prominent Boston family. He studied with John Knowles Paine at Harvard and also George Whitefield Chadwick. In 1896, he went to Munich where he studied with Joseph Rheinberger. For awhile, he taught at the New England Conservatory and Harvard, but he soon retired to his estate in Westwood, Massachusetts, near Boston, where he lived the rest of his life. Nothing much needs to be said as way of introduction for Amy Beach except to say that Mary Louise Boehm is an expert in the performance of her music. Her recording of the Beach Piano Concerto is still considered definitive.
Amy Beach, composer
Variations on Balkan Themes, for Piano, Op. 60
Mary Louise Boehm, piano

Frederick Converse, composer
Sonata No. 1 for Piano
Mary Louise Boehm, piano

Arne Oldberg, composer
Sonata in B Flat Minor, Op. 28
Mary Louise Boehm, piano

"All of us have pored over studies and histories of American music, and the names of Frederick Converse and Amy Beach will not be unfamiliar. But Arne Oldberg? How many of us have ever heard a note of his music? And how many readers can say that they have heard any Converse piece in a concert program? So we need pianists like Mary Louise Boehm to set the record straight....Converse and Oldberg, both represented here by sonatas, were touched by "modernism," but neither had the imagination or daring to carry it to any kind of logical conclusion....Beach, also a fine pianist, took several haunting Balkan melodies and worked them into a long (almost 30 minutes) virtuoso piece. Many ideas tumble forth - not particularly striking, but always honest, ingenious, and capable of holding the interest in so long a work....Ms. Boehm diligently takes on her three composers with the expertise and dedication one has come to expect from her." (American Record Guide)
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