Echoes: Bach, Rachmaninoff

Echoes: Bach, Rachmaninoff

by Nicholas McCarthyNicholas McCarthy


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The one-armed pianist, often a product of the great wars, was a visible fixture in mid-20th century musical life, but Britain's Nicholas McCarthy is one of the few active nowadays. He has drawn large crowds, and opened for Coldplay at the 2016 Paralympics in London. McCarthy is a master of the sweeping musical gesture necessary in this genre, and with Echoes he returns with his second album. The first, Solo, was devoted to operatic aria treatments and to Chopin; here McCarthy takes up composers who were favorites of earlier one-armed artists: Bach, Rachmaninov, and, though he doesn't get cover billing, Brahms, whose "etude" on Bach's big D minor violin chaconne is not often played. The program nicely alternates melodic pieces with big virtuoso items that push against limitations, and it's a reasonable substitute for being present at a concert, which is where this kind of music really flourishes. Sample "Springwaters," from Rachmaninov's "12 Romances, Op. 14, No. 11," for an illustration of how McCarthy can make you forget you're listening to a one-handed artist, and then move on to the version of the Prelude from Bach's "Suite No. 1 for solo cello, BWV 1007," where McCarthy applies just enough pedal elaboration to make the performance into an independent entity rather than a pointless transcription. Classical music is still ruled by major labels, and this is one of the few artist-released albums (it is distributed by the American firm CD Baby) to reach top classical chart levels.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/03/2017
Label: Cd Baby
UPC: 0761856812871
catalogNumber: 5639126232
Rank: 161899


  1. Prelude and Fugue, for keyboard No. 1 in C major (WTC I/1), BWV 846 (BC L80): Prelude
  2. Studies (5) for piano, Anh. 1a/1: No. 5, Chaconne
  3. Prelude for piano No.21 in B minor, Op. 32/10
  4. Prelude, transcription for piano in B minor (after Bach, BWV 855)
  5. Suite for solo cello No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007: 1. Prelude
  6. Georgian Song ("Do not Sing, My Beauty"), for voice & piano, Op. 4/4
  7. Spring waters, song for voice & piano, Op. 14/11
  8. Sonata for cello & piano in G minor, Op. 19: 3. Andante
  9. Cantata No. 208, "Was mir behagt," (Hunt Cantata), BWV 208 (BC G1, G3): Aria, "Sheep May Safely Graze"
  10. Prelude for piano No.6 in G minor, Op. 23/5

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